The secret to building consistently excellent products? Deep user insights
If you’ve visited the productboard blog before, you’ve probably come across “deep user insights” more than once. When we use this term, we mean that the entire product team has a shared understanding of what users really need, and builds the right products as a result.
Unfortunately, many teams do not have a system in place and become disconnected from users — a challenge we address in our new ebook. Here’s what else is in store:
- Why deep user insight is a core pillar of Product Excellence
- A step-by-step guide to gathering deep user insights
- How to turn deep user insights into excellent products
Why deep user insight is a core pillar of Product Excellence
Deep user insights help you to build the right products in the first place. Failing to achieve deep user insights, to put it simply, leads to the wrong products. Teams that make assumptions rather than relying on data spend weeks, months, or even years working on products or features that end up underutilized or ultimately fail in the market.
We’ve created a rubric to illustrate the five proficiency levels when it comes to gathering deep user insight (see image on right). Download the ebook now to get the full scoop.
A step-by-step guide to gathering deep user insights
Want to start informing your product decisions with deep user insights? Follow these five steps to get started:
- Do an audit of your existing user and product inputs. Understand the places where you currently gather insights and consider all the different touchpoints that people at your company have with end-users.
- Regularly interface with customer-facing teams. Running interviews with customer-facing teams to share, rank, and elaborate on user needs can yield many gold nuggets of actionable information.
- Make it a habit to talk to customers. Invest time into figuring out who your product is for, what job it will do, and why users will pay you for it. This means actually talking to people who use your product, those who have churned off, and anyone in-between.
- Set up a system to consolidate product inputs from all sources. It’s essential to have a system that syncs with your existing tech stack and automatically funnels in all incoming inputs.
- Analyze and act on insights!
How to turn deep user insights into excellent products
Once you’ve gathered insights, you must leverage them to make strategic product decisions that accurately address user needs.
Create a culture around gathering insights that can scale
Instead of taking sole responsibility for the heavy lifting, product makers must build a culture around gathering insight.
To achieve this, folks across the organization must develop a “product mindset” and understand the specific role they play in the product development process. They must be trained to recognize good feedback and learn to tease out important patterns.
Get to the bottom of what users really need
When customers ask for a feature, they envision the ideal solution for their own needs.
That’s why you can’t rely on customers to explain their needs to you — you must sleuth them out yourself. To do this, product managers much approach their work with endless curiosity, and always ask why.
Nothing helps product managers uncover new customer needs quite like a genuine fascination with the problems they’re solving for. And that’s something that gets built up one question at a time, over months or years of becoming an expert in a given space.
Start incorporating deep user insights into your product management process
Neglecting deep user insights can lead to severe consequences. After all, who wants to waste time and resources on products that don’t get used, or worse, fail altogether? The good news is that this process doesn’t just involve product makers. You’ll be getting help from other people and teams throughout your organization. And while it might take time to build a culture where everyone has a “product mindset,” the results will be worth it.