Building with feature scope minimality in mind is the bread and butter of startup success. You want to stay agile, pivot often and without accruing too much technical debt, and verify your idea as early as possible. Getting the user involved in your product feedback loop process early will accelerate your idea towards product/market fit.
QA team potential users involved early
Early to Mid stage startups rarely have dedicated QA teams. Engineers are vigilant, but some bugs are going to make it to users. You should acknowledge that fact and incorporate users into your feedback loop process. Asking them things like “Why did you expect X to happen, when Y did instead?” or “How did you expect the app to respond after you did X?” are easy questions to get concrete feedback from your users and build investment. At an early stage startup it is crucial for engineers to be able to think like a user. The quickest way to do that is to put them in front of users as early as possible.
If quantifiable metrics are your jam, here’s some bonus points:
- Now that you can verify which features users really want (by watching them use your product), your low feature bloat will lead to a simple product and give your “killer feature” room to shine.
- Now that you embrace that bugs will reach your users and reach out to get them involved, your robust and refined features and early users (read: QA Team) will decrease overall bug rate.
More collaboration and inclusion = better product
Increasing the number of feedback loops gives the team more opportunities to collaborate. A diverse, collaborative environment drives innovation at any size or level of a company. Utilizing the power of diverse insights will lead to a more accessible product that is user-centric in its design.
Finally, investment and feeling of ownership of a product is important to create quality output. Getting a particular user involved in product iteration from the beginning gives that user a sense of investment. The same goes for team members and stakeholders. No one likes to feel like a cog in the wheel.
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James Mensch is the Director of Engineering at Threatcare and the CEO at Magnifai. I believe in building intelligent products, using data to drive decisions, and engineering for social impact. I write about some of the cool stuff I do with tech, productivity and motivation psychology, and my social innovation projects. Connect with me on LinkedIn or say hi on Twitter.