POPin Blog

Product Roadmaps And The Art Of Customer Engagement

We know, we know, another infographic. But you’ll have to excuse us – we just couldn’t resist this one from the archives. Not sure what exactly you would call it….Product Management in the time of Cholera? Or vintage? Or just plain wrong. This basic sketch of product development that far off actually. Most new offerings go through similar stages in their development process. Although the size of a company will affect how the different stages of their new product development process are conducted and whether products are test marketed before being introduced, the steps are generally the same.
But customer engagement at step 5?? Conventional wisdom suggests that the best new product development strategy is to be “close to the customer.”
Visionaries and idea builders would reluctantly agree that rarely is the initial vision of a product market-ready and poised for success. That’s why entrepreneurs must fight the urge to simply put their heads down and build a product to completion without engaging customers for vital feedback and guidance. Instead, they must continually ask themselves, “Who are we building this product for? And do we have information to back up our theory?” Each release with pre-development customer discovery conversations about what works and doesn’t, along with massive post-development testing to iron out the kinks. This feedback is invaluable both in relation to individual features and continued business planning. Before ever drawing that first sketch or writing your first line of code, make sure to talk to potential customers to hear what they have to say and what they want. That way you can see how your product fits in, or doesn’t. This is why we’re big believers in using a PoPin session to identify requested features and rationalization. After that, follow-up PoPin sessions can help develop priorities and implementation plans. The bottom line if you build it, and meet people, and keep building, and meet more people, and keep building, and listen for feedback, and build and connect with leaders, you’ll stand a much better chance of building something that people will actually want.