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Customer is besieged, but still standing unconquered

Customer is besieged, but still standing unconquered


photo credit: The British Library | Image from La Mort le Roi Artus: Guinevere, defended by two hundred knights, is besieged in the Tower of London by Mordred

This is the third post of a five-part series on product management.

In my previous post I addressed the great divide and how we have been trying to bridge it over the years. Before I share my thoughts on why the divide exists, I want to challenge you a little more.

Given the long history of myriad frameworks and methodologies, it seems like the customer, her goals, pains and motivations are besieged on every front. Everyone is trying to analyze her, everyone is trying to understand her, everyone is trying to learn how to satisfy her.

Founders, marketers, designers, product managers–everyone needs to understand the customer in order to deliver a great product and build a great company. Yet the depth of undestanding remains shallow in startups and existing businesses alike.

How is that?

How is it that companies focus on their solutions only? On features and functionality? How is it that companies keep piling features that nobody uses into their products? How is it that majority of engineers have no idea why they are building the features they are building?

How come that when I come to a website of a newly funded startup, I have no idea what they can do for me even though I am their primary audience? (Yet they have no shortage of features listed on their websites…) How is it that there are many funded companies whose top management can’t agree on what the focus should be, and what the messaging should be? How is it that an exec routinely overrules a product manager who talks to customers every day? How is it that features get built just because a competitor has them as well?

I’ll let you know what I think the reason might be in my next post. ?


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