This article continues the series exploring the root causes of product failure. Even when you target the right users, and identify which of their problems are important to solve, you may still fail to solve the problems sufficiently.
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Continuing the series on root causes of product failure, this article looks at the impact of focusing on the wrong user goals. Even if you have picked the right users, you may have picked the wrong goals – creating a product your customers don’t really need, or solving problems that your customers don’t care about solving.
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Exploring the reasons that a product might fail in the market is a useful way to triage and assess what you need to do to prevent the failure of your product. Instead of taking the “do these things” approach as a prescriptive recipe for product managers, I’m approaching the exact same topic from the opposite direction. I was inspired in part to explore this approach when thinking about the Remember the Future innovation game. Instead of asking “What will the system have done?” in order to gain insights what it could be built to do, I’m asking “Why did your product fail?” in order to prevent the most likely causes of failure.
There are many reasons that a product might fail in the market. One of those reasons is that your product solves the wrong problems. There are many ways to solve the wrong problems. This article continues the series on sources of product failure, exploring the idea that your product may be trying to solve the wrong problems.
Jump forward in time to the day of your next big product launch (first release, new features, new market segment, etc). And your site/application crashes due to the “unexpected” demand. All you can do now is look for a bucket of water to put out the fire. What could you have done to prevent this disaster? Jump back to today and start doing it!
Agile development methodologies succeed because they help development teams be as effective as possible. Development teams do not, however, work in complete isolation. The company they work for has a strategy. The company manages a portfolio of products, and targets a particular product at specific market problems. Within that context, an agile team can thrive. What’s the best way to provide that context?
The Cause and Effect diagram is also known as a fish bone diagram, because it resembles the skeleton of a fish. Using a cause and effect diagram can be the most effective way to define the problems that you intend to solve with your product. Get your stakeholders engaged in your program with this compelling visual!