Product owners are often full of good ideas for improving customers’ experiences and satisfaction with their digital products or services. But there are also some common roadblocks that hinder successful execution of those ideas. Here are five issues that I see preventing successful launches, whether it’s a new website, increased functionality, an email campaign or an app.
Lack of clear business goals
The newness of any idea can always be exciting. But to bring that idea to life, it’s important to stay focused on the end goal. The best way to start is to draft a positioning statement that aligns the idea with business goals measured by key performance indicators (KPIs). Then make sure every feature supports that positioning statement and its goals. Outline every step of your plan to develop each feature.
Ignoring your customers
You know your product or service better than anyone. In fact, you may know it too well. Get out and talk to your customers. Watch them use what you produce. Listen to what they like and what they don’t like. These conversations don’t need to be daunting and formal. And you don’t need science-grade market research. The goal is learn about your customers’ workflow and what they do before, during and after they use your product.
Reinventing the wheels
We often think we need to devise a completely new user experience to increase engagement. This isn’t always the case. Often the tried-and-true processes used by businesses in adjacent industries are best. Imitate the best ideas out there. Adopt your favorite trends for your own use. Want to be original? Use your creativity by putting your own spin on a proven method.
Forgetting to involve all stakeholders
From the design stage to preparing your launch, it’s important to involve all stakeholders. Try the “10 at 10” method: Hold daily, 10-minute stand-ups at 10 a.m., during which all stakeholders (both the internal team and client) check-in. Keep these meetings brief by strictly limiting discussion only to roadblocks that impede progress. Use project tracking tools such as Smartsheets to track tasks, their owners and status. Send weekly updates and set clear dates for decisions that need to be made and who needs to make them.
The “Let’s build an app!” trap
Popular phrases in the technology world, like being “agile,” “nimble” and “failing fast” – can lead people to think speed is the way to quality. Too often we see people throwing money and resources into the newest ideas that are easy to sell to management – only to find their concepts half-baked, ineffective or too expensive to do well, quickly.
Test the concept first, build the technology later. Think about what you are trying to do and use as few technology resources as possible to get it in front of customer. Once you start to see engagement, build the technology that will help your customer engage.
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