Product Management
April 14, 2022

You’re building the wrong product. Here’s how to fix it.

You’re building the wrong product. Here’s how to fix it.

You’re building the wrong product. Here’s how to fix it

80% of product features built are rarely or never used by your customers.

That’s 80% of your time, effort, and money wasted building features that don’t provide value. On top of that, crowding your product with unnecessary features actually degrades the experience for customers as they struggle to find the one feature they actually need. You build more, and somehow provide less value.

How did we get here?

Even today we make product decisions based on our gut. Analytics and support tickets tell us that something is wrong, but:

  1. We often don’t understand ‘Why’. You may know that people drop off on Screen 3 of your onboarding flow, but you don’t know the reason behind it. You may even know that your Slack integration is confusing - but what makes it confusing? What does your user want to achieve with this integration?
  2. We don’t test our solutions before pushing into production. We assume that the solution we came up with will work for our customers, and we wait until the feature is live in production before asking for feedback.

Here’s an example of how we overcame this problem at Looppanel

We knew that communicating user insights in a digestible format was a challenge for our customers. We asked ourselves - how might we help?

After a team brainstorm, we arrived at an elegant solution: creating a ‘Call Summary’ space for every user call where you can write out your key learnings and embed Looppanel’s clips or quotes from your auto-generated transcript. Customers could then drop this summary into Slack or an email to share key highlights with their teams.

Excited by our solutioning prowess, we prototyped a design within a day or two - but before pushing it to production, we decided to run a few usability tests. We put it in front of our customers and asked them to walk through the feature. We asked them - how easy was this to use on a scale of 1-10? How valuable is this feature? 

The response was clear - not valuable at all. Our customers were already reading through their notes and transcripts on Looppanel and writing out summaries directly on Slack. Instead of solving a problem for them, our solution created an additional step in their workflow. Unless we could automatically create cogent, useful call summaries for them - this feature was dead in the water.

The counterfactual: What would have happened if we hadn’t taken 1 day to test?

  1. We would’ve spent 1-2 weeks building a lean version of this feature to push into production at the cost of solving bugs and building other features we know our users want.
  2. Inevitably, there would’ve been low feature adoption.
  3. While we ideally should roll back a feature nobody is using, it takes time to consider the ramifications of a roll back. We would’ve hemmed and hawed, left the feature in there for probably far too long before spending even more time and energy to undo the work we did.

This is not to say that concept or usability testing can solve every problem for you. It can’t guarantee that a feature will be a complete success. But it can guarantee that you won’t build a product nobody wants.