Industrialize Your MVP: Why your product team can’t please their users

Industrialize Your MVP: Why your product team can’t please their users

The enterprise excels at making first drafts. But enterprise companies routinely fall short at improving on that initial version and adding true value to their users.

At Umbrage, part of the value we deliver to our clients is creating a product-first vision that enables them to industrialize their initial products. Industrializing your product means implementing a process to develop, scale and nurture a digital solution.

Innovation teams at large companies are really good at creating an initial product and instead create MVPs that are not scalable. This makes implementing future improvements a daunting task.

But moving beyond a perpetual hackathon mindset means bringing a mature development approach to the team. Collecting, analyzing and acting on user feedback and data is a great way to industrialize the minimum viable product that teams initially create.

Here’s how Umbrage approaches the concept of industrializing your MVP.

Collect the right data

The one and done model is not how real products are developed and scaled. While having a stand-out feature or first version of a full product is great, it does not offer the entire company long-term value. Implementing a method to collect key data and customer feedback is crucial for scaling a long-term solution.

If you keep listening and incorporate this feedback into a groomed backlog, you’ll build a successful product. The three key data points you must collect and analyze are:

  1. Usage metrics: What features are getting used and what aren’t? If you can identify how users are interacting with the software, then you can determine what to prioritize for future improvements.
  2. Bug collection: Do users have an easy way to submit errors/bugs? Being able to collect consumer feedback, document it in a proper way and address key issues to emphasize user satisfaction.
  3. Business group KPIs: Whether its revenue projections, first-call resolution, inventory management or other KPIs, ensuring that your business solution accrues to those core business results will enable your team to prove its value.

Clients are very eager to add new features. But the best products are built on a balance approach. When you find the happy medium between adding new value while fixing/adapting what has already been developed, you can create a product that is optimized for long-term success.

Collecting good data helps find that balance. The perpetual evaluation of product strategies based on user feedback and changes within the market help companies find unique ways to integrate products across their business. Being a product manager is not waiting until somebody tells you what to do. You need to have the ability to collect actionable data and implement it into your strategy and that starts with listening to your customers.

Analyze the important voices: your customers’

If the product team isn’t taking the responsibility to properly document and address user feedback, it can’t build a scalable product. But it requires more than a simple game of telephone with your customers. There are countless times product teams build features because the business team told them too. Product teams need to own the product and have voice through clean data.

You need to have reliable ways to capture, analyze and implement customer feedback. To effectively analyze user data, it is crucial to examine how the product team is organized. We generally find that these teams are not optimized to do product research and collect feedback.

Being able to capture actionable feedback or feature requests is crucial. If 20% of your user base is asking for a feature, that shows that it is a crucial item to implement, but if you don’t have a method in place to collect that data, you won’t be able to surface that insight. We start with implementing a listening tool such as Aha! or Productboard. This enables us to have designers and developers involved in the product feedback cycle.

An integrated approach to collecting and analyzing feedback means that while bugs can be addressed, new features can also be implemented. The team spends time improving and iterating the product and not just fixing it.

We place a lot of emphasis on creating or refining the DevOps process as part of our work with clients. If you can’t adapt to your customers’ feedback as fast as it comes in, you’ll likely end up with a product that doesn’t get used and is ultimately forgotten about. But how do you get the entire technology team aligned? That’s where Umbrage shines.

Act on the insights

A lot of companies rely on top-down feature implementation. A feature is asked for without sufficient research or insight into why the feature is needed. Industrializing the software development and implementation process ensures a quality product is created and users are happy to adopt it.

One client had traditionally driven development of new features from the top down, but after several of those features fell flat, it sought a new way to inform its product road map. Umbrage introduced the process of doing user research to discover how people were working and using the products. This helped our client see what changes were needed and provided feedback on which features were the most valuable.

An Umbrage product manager was able to work with the client’s technology team to identify the key features needed and what was not working from previous solutions. By accurately capturing user feedback, uniting the teams to create the ideal solution and creating a new solution, we were able to help this client quadruple the adoption of its software.

The lesson this client learned is that every time a new feature is discussed, make sure it maps to your core objectives. As an outside perspective, Umbrage can help clarify your product team’s vision and connect it with what users are truly asking for.