One of the mistakes people make in the digital product arena is investing a lot of money into projects based on a lot of assumptions. They often assume that they have all the answers because they have identified a gap in the market.
It’s certainly an exciting time for an entrepreneur to get started with the development of a new digital product after identifying a gap in the market, but it’s also the time to slow down and invite other people in. You don’t have to build the product to start learning from user feedback. Invite the type of people in that will help you build a product suitable for the target audience, using insights.
Here are five points that can help you invest in software the right way.
Building a minimum viable product (M.V.P) minimises risk:
In the past people have invested in the big idea with no real insight of what it would end up costing. Instead of trying to implement the full idea with all the bells and whistles, focus on the core set of features that differentiate you from the existing solutions and provide the most value to your potential customer.
This reduces the scope and cost of the project and allows you to get feedback from your users early. This leads to an iterative cycle of development, feedback, and review. This approach allows you to incrementally build the product based on real feedback rather than assumptions. In some cases, you don’t even need to start with a functional coded prototype. DropBox is famous for making a demo video instead. That got people to invest in the idea way before a line of code was committed.
Don’t be afraid to share the idea with people you trust:
It’s difficult to achieve greatness in isolation. At some stage you must share the idea with others to receive feedback and get it built. Going to the moon wasn’t an original idea, but what made it happen was getting the right people together. It’s lonely at the top, even before you reach it.
Mum and Dad, your brother and sisters are not enough when you want to quiz you target market:
They might not be the most objective! Create some questions that don’t give away your solution but rather identify the exact pain point your audience are dealing with. Henry Ford is widely quoted as saying ‘If I had asked the people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses’. The point is you need to clarify the problem rather than the solution. The more you fall in love with the problem the better the solutions you will create.
Behaviours are the insights that improve the experience:
Some software just fades into obscurity. When what is built continually frustrates an audience, they’ll look for other solutions. You could argue that’s why MySpace and Friends Reunited failed long-term because Facebook understood the need to build features that people actually wanted by analysing audience behaviour. So, when you have a great MVP in place, the behaviours and insights will open doors that previously seemed foggy! Behaviours inform feature development and that is why it is best to launch with just a few core features first. Get them nailed and then implement more over time, using user behaviour data to inform design.
Let user feedback drive the feature roadmap:
When you first start out feedback can be painful. Over time you’ll learn to withstand criticism, and start to see feedback as one of your most valuable resources. It will help you see which features are needed and prioritise your ideas – giving people what they want. After all, the best software in the world is software that delivers by anticipating the needs of the user and creating a feedback loop so that they feel like they are being listened to. Suddenly, what you have built is adopted and the end user feels like they own it. Feedback can be captured through surveys, workshops, and regular polls, and even face to face conversations with your users.
We at Di9ital love helping companies realise their full potential. We love to save our clients time, effort and ultimately money in the long-term. We want to create software that serves humans in the best way possible. We ask the right questions and simplify processes as your trusted software partner.
Get in touch for a no obligation chat and let’s see how we can help shape your idea by starting small, with one eye on BIG.