The product life cycle is short.
Product lifecycles continue to get shorter and shorter as customers’ expectations rise. You need to continue to be competitive while identifying, prioritizing and implementing changes in product development and improvement. Adopting improvements in order to deliver better product functionality does not have to be arduous. Delivering improvements means that you’re responsive, engaged and committed to the right vision for your product. Not all of the improvements you use have to be particularly large scale.
Gartner recommends, “Determine your company’s top priorities to improve upon related to product strategy and execution. The key to improving product life cycle performance is to focus on one or two primary improvement goals at a time.”
As product manager you must find improvements that will benefit your business and your users, but you must also ensure that these improvements are actually implemented and distributed.
Here are four ways to delivery greater functionality in less time.
1. Monitor Product Usage
Ask critical questions. Focusing too much on the product itself can be a detriment to any increase in functionality. Are you looking at the features available? What are the specifics that need changing and how many are required? How many have been sold and are you charging enough for them? Are you examining exactly how your customers find you and what filters can be designed or redesigned to provide a quicker and more functional product? Engage with your users and once you have identified the top three quality improvement opportunities, identify exactly how much they will buy you. Make sure you’re right by monitoring and recording the results.
2. Change With, & Ahead of Your Competitors
According to Gartner, “Manufacturers continue to struggle with reducing the time it takes to define, design and deliver innovative new products. IT organizations can contribute to improved product innovation performance by enabling capabilities that close the gap between R&D activities and improve system-centric product design”.
Building greater functionality as a result of industry competition is critical to the advancement of the industry as a whole. In some ways new businesses have advantages over older more established ones. They can move more quickly and adapt more easily than their older or more recognized competition. In order to keep your product continually improving, you need to be sure that you’re promoting your changes and communicating the results of your new changes effectively. Leverage user testimonials and customer reviews in order to understand how adding new features will help or hinder you.
3. Take Advantage of New Technologies
Take a look at your competitors. How are they succeeding and what changes in technologies have been made to help you deliver greater functionality? You can benefit from a rapidly changing and highly innovative industry by checking in with industry best practices and innovative technologies to help. In addition, new technologies like WalkMe can also help. WalkMe can help product managers deliver greater functionality in less time.
4. Ask Your Customers
Before making any significant revisions, or before adding new features, make sure you contact your customers to see if this is something they’d like. If you make revisions, do so carefully. Ask your customers first if they would like a new feature or if they’d rather have a faster service. If it’s an either/or situation, you need to contact the people who use your service most. Create user notes and many methods of feedback so you can ask the question.
Also, gather larger user bases to share customer reflections and insights that come from all levels of feedback. Share the vision of your product and its function so that you can improve existing features and general UX.
To sum up:
Your business has a lot to gain from improvement of functionality. But no changes should be done without considerable planning and understanding of user experience. If you have engaged with your customers and have made a strong plan for continuous improvement, by following these four steps you can gain improved function in less time.