What’s the best way to prioritize product features?

Alan Klement (Author and Consumer Insights Analyst)
Replacing The User Story With The Job Story — Jobs To Be Done — Medium

Frame every design problem as a Job, focusing on the triggering event or situation, the motivation and goal, and the intended outcome: When _____ , I want to _____ , so I can _____. For example, “when an important new customer signs up, I want to be notified, so I can start a conversation with them. ”

What’s the best way to interview customers?

Alan Klement (Author and Consumer Insights Analyst)
Filling in Lean’s Gaps | Jobs-to-be-Done

1. Exposition. In story telling (narratives) it often helps to introduce background information which sets the stage before the main plot begins so the audience can quickly understand the context in which everything happens. The same is true for product design. 2. Observation. Identify two things: (1) The pre-existing behaviors customers do now and have done in the past. (2) The purchases which customers make and have made in the past. 3. Situati… (read more)

What’s the best way to prioritize product features?

Brian de Haaf (Co-founder and CEO @ Aha!)
How to Say “No” to Your CEO’s Random Product Ideas

Here’s how to [prioritize]: 1. Goal first. Set your product strategy and then be proactive about communicating it within the rest of the organization. Define your vision and make sure everyone understands it, then your strategy can say, “No” for you. 2. Score ideas. You should rank features and prioritize the ones that will have the greatest impact on the product and the company. 3. Share your roadmap. Our product team shares our roadmap regularl… (read more)

Slava Akhmechet (Founder at RethinkDB)
57 startup lessons

Learn the difference between people who might buy your product and people who are just commenting. Pay obsessive attention to the former. Ignore the latter.

Ben Erez (Product at Breeze)
22 Mistakes I Made as a First Time Founder — Viabilify

Anyone can get a potential customer to say they’re interested in something by asking the right questions. The only form of interest that ended up mattering to us from a potential customer was a full integration of their mobile presence, inventory and customer relationship processes into our software.

Ben Yoskovitz (VP Product at VarageSale, VP Product at GoInstant (acquired by Salesforce), Author of Lean Analytics)
Customer Support is the Ultimate Learning Experience

Most often, you just don’t know what people are going to do when they get their hands on your product. And customer support is the learning engine that can drive the company forward in terms of resolving usability issues, fixing bugs, prioritizing features, increasing virality/word-of-mouth and more.

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
What problem are you solving? | A Founder’s Notebook

Explicitly articulating the user need and the proposed solution exposes your assumptions and makes it easier to test them (eg. with a survey) and entertain alternative solutions. This isn’t limited to product. In Seeking Alpha, we often talk about backing into the question. “Hey, I’ve had this great idea!” “What question is that idea answering?” “Ah, here’s an even better answer to that question…”

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
How data should improve your product | A Founder’s Notebook

The job description of a data scientist in a startup: To interpret data into actionable decisions for the product, marketing and customer support teams.

Alan Klement (Author and Consumer Insights Analyst)
Replacing The User Story With The Job Story — Jobs To Be Done — Medium

Frame every design problem as a Job, focusing on the triggering event or situation, the motivation and goal, and the intended outcome: When _____ , I want to _____ , so I can _____. For example, “when an important new customer signs up, I want to be notified, so I can start a conversation with them. ”

Sam Altman (President at Y Combinator)
Startup Playbook

Prioritization is critical and hard. (Equally important to setting the companys priorities is setting your own tactical priorities. What I’ve found works best for me personally is a pen-and-paper list for each day with ~3 major tasks and ~30 minor ones, and an annual to-do list of overall goals. )

Ben Yoskovitz (VP Product at VarageSale, VP Product at GoInstant (acquired by Salesforce), Author of Lean Analytics)
Prioritize Product Development by the Four Stages of Use

Think of your product less in terms of features and more in terms of the experience you’re trying to provide from start to finish: Ongoing Engagement: How do you make sure users get continuous value from your product? First User Experience: What do you want people doing as soon as they start using your product? Onboarding: How can you get people signed up? Marketing/Growth: How do you get users to your product? How do you get them to the front do… (read more)

Jack Dorsey (Co-Founder, CEO at Twitter and Square)
Jack Dorsey: The CEO as Chief Editor – YouTube

There are a million things that we could be doing, but only one or two are important. There’s all these stories from our users, from engineers, from support. We need to choose the one or two (or the intersection of a few) that are really going to drive the success of the product.

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
Why startups should focus on a Job To Be Done rather than “market need” | A Founder’s Notebook

Focusing on a Job To Be Done removes the need to specify who your target customer is, because your target customer is anyone who needs to get this job done.

Seth Godin (Founder at Yoyodyne Entertainment)
Seth’s Blog: “I agree in principle…”

One of the great privileges of not living on the edge of disaster is that we have the ability to act on our principles. The hard part is realizing that it’s never the edge of disaster, and that the long run is always shorter than we imagine.

Seth Godin (Founder at Yoyodyne Entertainment)
Seth’s Blog: On saying “no”

If it doesn’t move you forward, hesitate then walk away. The short run always seems urgent, and a moment where compromise feels appropriate. But in the long run, it’s the good ‘no’s that we remember. On the other hand, there’s an imperative to say “yes.” Say yes and build something that matters.

Seth Godin (Founder at Yoyodyne Entertainment)
Seth’s Blog: Worth thinking about

The key question isn’t, “what’s the answer?” The key question is, “what’s the question?” Is this area worth thinking about? Should I maintain the status quo? Is this good enough? Your focus is the heart of your organization’s future. Your attention is irreplaceable. The real question, then, is, “how much time are you spending deciding what to spend time on?”

Seth Godin (Founder at Yoyodyne Entertainment)
Seth’s Blog: Deconstructing urgent vs. important

Unless you’re a day trader, though, this drama of seeing the news unfold right now is not going to help you make better decisions–in fact, it’s going to make your decisions worse. It’s also unlikely to make you happier. Or smarter. We’re more likely to be afraid of terrorism than long-term atmosphere change, even though it’s clear that the latter kills and injures far more people than the former.The news we consume changes us. Not just the news … (read more)

Sam Gerstenzang (Director of Product at Imgur)
16 product things I learned at Imgur — Medium

Every feature you launch is a feature you’ll need to support with users, infrastructure and development. So launch as few things as possible.

Julie Zhuo (Director of Product Design at Facebook)
Pando: The tax of new

Define a green light criterion, and test a small launch against it. Define a sunset criterion.

Ryan Hoover (Founder at Product Hunt)
Startup Lessons Growing from 10 to 100 | Ryan Hoover

Don’t be so clever. Obvious is usually the better product decision.

Ryan Hoover (Founder at Product Hunt)
Startup Lessons Growing from 10 to 100 | Ryan Hoover

Just because it’s easy to implement doesn’t mean it isn’t costly. Product complexity isn’t just a technical burden but an education hurdle for customers and new hires.

Ryan Hoover (Founder at Product Hunt)
Startup Lessons Growing from 10 to 100 | Ryan Hoover

Have a vision and thesis of the future but don’t overshoot the market, ignoring what people ask for today.

Ryan Hoover (Founder at Product Hunt)
Startup Lessons Growing from 10 to 100 | Ryan Hoover

The last 5% often makes all the difference.

Ryan Hoover (Founder at Product Hunt)
Startup Lessons Growing from 10 to 100 | Ryan Hoover

Engage and include engineering very early in the product design process.

Ryan Hoover (Founder at Product Hunt)
Startup Lessons Growing from 10 to 100 | Ryan Hoover

If you’re saying “no” infrequently, you’re probably making bad product decisions.

Ryan Hoover (Founder at Product Hunt)
Startup Lessons Growing from 10 to 100 | Ryan Hoover

Product design and usability is important for any product. B2B companies don’t get a pass. They serve people too

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
Facebook’s most important advice for product managers | A Founder’s Notebook

Adding features doesn’t add users; focusing on your best features does. Every added feature adds complexity for new users to struggle with. Leaders must pare products down so new users can comprehend them.

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
Is this the most important feature of any app? | A Founder’s Notebook

Performance trumps other features. Still true today. And even more so for anything mobile.

Slava Akhmechet (Founder at RethinkDB)
57 startup lessons

Ask two questions for every product feature. Will people buy because of this feature? Will people not buy because of lack of this feature? No amount of the latter will make up for lack of the former. Don’t build features if the answer to both questions is “no”.

Slava Akhmechet (Founder at RethinkDB)
57 startup lessons

Development speed is everything.

Andy Dunn (CEO of Bonobos)
Get One Thing Right — Medium

Make one thing great. Get one thing right. That earns you the right to go from product one to product two.

Slava Akhmechet (Founder at RethinkDB)
Slava Akhmechet

The most important aspect of product management is categorizing features into three buckets: A gamechanger. People will want to buy your product because of this feature. A showstopper. People won’t buy your product if you’re missing this feature, but adding it won’t generate demand. A distraction. This feature will make no measurable impact on adoption.

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
Polyvore CEO Jess Lee on what makes startups successful | A Founder’s Notebook

First, figure out how to maximize your impact. Second, from that derive extreme focus. Third, thereby delight the user.

Sam Altman (President at Y Combinator)
Startup Playbook

When startups aren’t sure what to do next with their product, or if their product isnt good enough, we send them to go talk to their users. This doesn’t work in every case. It’s definitely true that people would have asked Ford for faster horses but it works surprisingly often. In fact, more generally, when there’s a disagreement about anything in the company, talk to your users.

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
Long Roadmaps – AVC

The best founders have these long roadmaps. If they can stay engaged in their companies, they can realize them over extended periods of time. There are so many reasons why this doesn’t always happen. Founders leave. Companies are sold. But when it all comes together, the result is magical.

What’s the best way to interview customers?

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
Startup founders’ most common mistake in meetings — and how to avoid it | A Founder’s Notebook

1. Make your key goal for the meeting to learn from the other person. Keep that goal in mind during the meeting and as you’re preparing for it. You might find it changes your behavior in unusual ways. 2. Send background information in advance. You’d be surprised at how willingly people will read material in advance. 3. Before the meeting, write down questions to ask the person. Many founders tell you about their product and company, and then thin… (read more)

Andrew Tate (Writer, former Nueroscientist)
Why a SaaS customer hasn’t churned when they cancel

Send a succinct, targeted survey that forces the cancelled customer to pick the biggest and smallest reasons for churning. These surveys work best in three main forms: An exit survey that’s displayed upon hitting cancel, an automated (but seemingly personal) email survey in the cancellation confirmation email, or a highly personalized email with an open-ended question: What made you cancel?

Ruben Gamez (Founder of BidSketch)
Doing SaaS Cancellation Interviews (the Jobs-to-be-Done Way) | ExtendsLogic

My favorite way to [interview customers] is by doing “switch interviews”, in which you focus on how the customer stopped using one product and started using another.

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
Build your product to explicitly address a “Job To Be Done” | A Founder’s Notebook

Build your product to explicitly address a “Job To Be Done”. Focusing on a Job To Be Done removes the need to specify who your target customer is, because your target customer is anyone who needs to get this job done. If you discover that there are different jobs to be done, for example Clay Christensen’s example of a milkshake to provide breakfast on a commute and a milkshake to provide a treat for a child, you’ll likely find you have different … (read more)

Sachin Rekhi (Group Product Manager at LinkedIn)
A Practitioner’s Guide to Net Promoter Score (NPS) | Sachin Rekhi

Ask your customers: “How likely is it that you would recommend our company to a friend or colleague?”, with the possible answers ranging from 0 – 10. Group your customers into Promoters (9-10 score), Passives (7-8 score), and Detractors (0-6 score). Then subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters and you have your NPS score. The score ranges from -100 (all detractors) to +100 (all promoters). An NPS score that is great… (read more)

Seth Godin (Founder at Yoyodyne Entertainment)
Seth’s Blog: Asking or announcing…

We have to create environments where people choose, then ask them why. When you ask someone if they would use your new product, buy your new widget or participate in your new service once it’s ready, you will get a lie in response. People don’t mean to mess you up, but you’ve made the error of asking them to imagine a future they have trouble imagining. It’s incredibly different than asking them to justify what they already do.

Seth Godin (Founder at Yoyodyne Entertainment)
Seth’s Blog: What does, “it’s too expensive,” mean?

“It’s too expensive,” rarely means, “we can’t afford it. ” Often, it actually means, “it’s not worth it. ” This is a totally different analysis, of course.

Intercom (A fundamentally new way to communicate with your customers)
Asking customers what you want to hear – Inside Intercom

Research study after research study has shown that people are very bad at predicting their future behaviour and attitudes. Therefore one of the worst, but sadly most common, research questions to ask is: Would you use feature x if we built it?

Joe Natoli (UX Consultant, Speaker & Author at Give Good UX / Twofold)
The Easy Way to IA: Start with Information Priority (Video)

Get the internal stakeholders to list the categories of information they think users of the product care about, in order of importance. Then, ask users what categories of information they care about. Don’t anchor them with the categories you’ve come up with — ask open ended questions. Present the results in a three-column table: Column 1: information category. Column 2: how we thought users ranked it. Column 3: how users actually ranked it.

Tomasz Tunguz (Partner at Redpoint Ventures)
8 Customer Discovery Questions to Validate Product Market Fit for Your Startup

1. How did you hear about the product? 2. What process did you use to pick this product over the competition? 3. Why did you choose this product? 4. Which teams in the company use the product, and how has that changed over time? 5. How important is this product compared to other software? 6. How much do you pay? 7. How quickly is the product evolving? 8. To whom would you recommend this product?

Eric Ries (Author, The Lean Startup)
The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to … – Eric Ries – Google Books

We must learn what customers really want, not what they say they want or what we think they should want. We must discover whether we are on a path that will lead to growing a sustainable business.

Alan Klement (Author and Consumer Insights Analyst)
Filling in Lean’s Gaps | Jobs-to-be-Done

1. Exposition. In story telling (narratives) it often helps to introduce background information which sets the stage before the main plot begins so the audience can quickly understand the context in which everything happens. The same is true for product design. 2. Observation. Identify two things: (1) The pre-existing behaviors customers do now and have done in the past. (2) The purchases which customers make and have made in the past. 3. Situati… (read more)

Benson Garner (Owner & Co-Founder Innovation Principle, LLC)
8 Tips For Conducting Interviews That Deliver Relevant Customer Insights — Strategyzer

Adopt a beginner’s mindset. Listen with open ears and an open mind and avoid interpreting customer responses too early. Get facts, not opinions. Ask questions that get your customers to share facts and experiences rather than questions that result in opinions. Don’t ask “Would you.. ?” Ask “When is the last time you.. ?” or “Tell me about a time when you.. ?” Ask “why” to get real motivations. Ask “why?” frequently. You might ask “Why do you need… (read more)

Mike Fishbein (Content Marketing at Alpha UX)
The Ultimate List of Customer Development Questions

[Questions to ask] 1. What do you think could be done to help you with [problem]? 2. What would your ideal solution to this problem look like?* 3. If you could wave a magic wand and instantly have any imaginable solution to this problem, what would it look like? 4. What’s the hardest part about [what you do currently]? 5. What are you currently doing to solve this problem/get this value? 6. What do you like and dislike about [competing product or… (read more)

Ruben Gamez (Founder of BidSketch)
What I Learned From Increasing My Prices | ExtendsLogic

Some of the questions I was trying to answer at this point: What industry do they belong to? How many users do they have? How often do they use [the product]? What features do they use the most?

Ruben Gamez (Founder of BidSketch)
What I Learned From Increasing My Prices | ExtendsLogic

How many employees do you have and how many people use [the product]? How much time does [the product] save you on each proposal? How important is feature X to you/your team? Describe your typical/ideal proposal workflow.

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
How to truly understand your customers | A Founder’s Notebook

It’s not enough to ask what your customers want; you also need to understand what makes them successful.

David Cummings (Managing Partner at Shotput Ventures)
Live Chat for Sales and Customer Service | David Cummings on Startups

Live chat is incredibly powerful for sales and customer service. If you can staff it with a product expert, it’s worth running a two week trial and assessing the results. Here are a few tips when using live chat: Consider using it on more critical pages like pricing and FAQ instead of all pages. Running it inside the web app for support is a great way to engage with customers and trial users in the context of their product usage. Connect the live… (read more)

http://www.givegoodux.com/fast-easy-way-to-uncover-user-needs/ (UX Consultant, Speaker & Author at Give Good UX / Twofold)
The Fast (and Easy) Way to Uncover User Needs | User Experience, User Interface Design Coaching, Speaking and Workshops

It’s not just what you ask — it’s how you ask

As you’ll see, asking the right questions starts with the actual form of the questions you ask. These should be open-ended, non-leading, non-specific questions that let the person fill in the details of the answer. You don’t ask them about what software or hardware they use; you ask them what they do, how they would complete a task.

That means you don’t ask a question like “how do you use the [ … (read more)

http://www.givegoodux.com/fast-easy-way-to-uncover-user-needs/ (UX Consultant, Speaker & Author at Give Good UX / Twofold)
The Fast (and Easy) Way to Uncover User Needs | User Experience, User Interface Design Coaching, Speaking and Workshops

Asking this set of questions across even a small pool of people — ten or less — will show you clear, recurring themes and patterns that can be used to validate user needs:

1. How do you define a successful work day? What has to happen in order for you to feel good when you leave?

2. Does that definition of success (and your stated goals) change from day to day — or from week to week? Are there certain times of year where what you need to ac… (read more)