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Focus On These 8 Things To Build Better Products

If you focus on these eight concepts you WILL build better products. It will not be easy, and it will not be instant. You’ll probably get a lot of pushback and ruffle some feathers, but I promise that your product/service will benefit.

1. Shorten the distance between the product development team (UX and engineering) and the customer.

For example . . .

Why? Decreasing the distance between the team and customers helps prevent loss of signal. Efforts to filter customer feedback to make it more “actionable” are largely ineffective.

2. Accelerate any form of learning about your customers, market, technology, self, team, and organization.

For example . . .

Why? Your team’s collective learning is your organization’s foremost asset. Left unshared, it depreciates almost immediately.

3. Watch a real user use your product to get their job done.

For example . . .

Why? To get out of your own head! No use arguing about whose guess is better.

4. Make it possible to deliver software fearlessly and with less drama.

For example . . . 

Why? If you work scared, you won’t take risks.

5. Reduce the number of dependencies and constraints.

For example . . .

Why? You can’t move quickly with your hands tied. If you try, you’ll have mediocre results.

6. Promote diversity, and engage the minority viewpoint.

For example . . .

Why? If everyone thinks the same and is forced to agree with the loudest voice, you’ll never explore different perspectives.

7. Foster creativity and freedom to explore and experiment.

For example . . .

Why? If you are 100% delivery focused, you’ll eventually hit the point when the luck runs out. We all crave a sense of impact and get a buzz from trying something new. **Bonus: this is how you innovate … not some lab or hack day.

8. Bridge silos.

For example . . .

Why? Silos inhibit the flow of information.

As product development teams we spend a great deal of time looking for “the answer.” We often adopt methodologies as a safety blanket, and then lose faith when the situation changes. I’ve provided some examples, but your teams are smart! Let them experiment with the how. Paint these broad goals and let them lead you.

John Cutler, senior product manager, spends his creative capital at Pendo thinking and experimenting with ways that make product development and the customer experience better. For a real-world story of how analytics and onboarding can improve customer success, read how TrendKite uses Pendo.

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