Objective Optimisation: Step Back From Your Product to Unlock Creativity
If your product isn’t achieving what you’d hoped, you need to take a step back. Too many product teams get caught up in internal bias or locked into failing processes. Only by adopting an outsider-looking-in mindset can you identify what is going wrong and how to fix it. As part of KOMODO’s new Product Performance Optimisation (PPO) service, we work with businesses just like yours to use our objectivity and help you redefine your people, processes and product to unlock commercial success.
Product teams, as you know first-hand, can easily fall victim to a ‘factory’ mindset. Whether through stakeholder intervention, mismanagement, dogged adherence to outdated processes or regulatory pressure, it is easy for the technical team behind a product to grow disheartened and lose sight of innovation. The term ‘innovation’ is often thrown around as an expectation – something a manager can demand from teams or an owner can push for in a product. Unfortunately, innovation is not a tangible ‘thing’, it’s more of a conceptual mindset: the idea of doing something ‘new’. A team entrenched in their day-to-day process will struggle to find the creativity needed to fuel innovation. So how can it be found? How do you take a step away and break the existing chains limiting your growth? As we do with our PPO offering, you need to adopt an outsider’s eye and take a long, hard look at your product.
Assumption = product stagnation
The main culprit behind subjective thinking is relying on assumptions. You may assume you know what is best for your users, your product or your processes – but until you can prove that with research, you’re not being objective. If your product design journey is based mainly on internal feedback, this is even more true: you are only updating or changing a product based on the thoughts of other team members and business owners – not based on the objective users, or the product itself. In a recent article, we talked about the importance of re-assessing your user research when your product is live. It’s easy to rely on outdated insights and miss potential opportunities to innovate based on behavioural changes in your users. Read that now and go update your research. This article is focusing more on the product itself. Once you can say for certain you have an up-to-date idea of your users, it’s time to assess the product by stepping back from your internal bias, ignoring feature requests from outside teams and instead looking at the product’s most honest point of reference: the data.
Set smarter internal benchmarks
Before we talk about a more objective benchmarking system, we should still remember that businesses can always benefit from remapping their product’s own internal benchmark system. What we mean by this is to begin analysing data around your main performance metric. For example, instead of focusing solely on customer conversions in an eCommerce app, map out other critical data points such as category page behaviour, product filter usage, cart behaviour and other related metrics. Rather than forcing your development team into focusing efforts on the big ‘moment’, think of the other data points you could establish that can then be incorporated into iterations and tracked. A small improvement in an overlooked part of your product could lead to a huge improvement in the overall conversion rate. But to be truly objective, you have to divorce your data benchmarking from your internal bias entirely. KOMODO does this in our PPO service by introducing a SUS (System Usability Scale) framework to our client’s products. This is an objective, externally-created way to gather real user feedback on how your product is being used. The output is a numerical score, which you can then use to track against future iterations. Another tool is called NPS, or ‘Net Promoter Score’, a concept that began as a customer satisfaction tool for commerce but has now become invaluable to product development. NPS sorts your users into detractors, passives and promoters. This score can be used as an overall indicator of product performance, but it can also be analysed more closely by asking each promoter type to submit further feedback. So you’ll see what your detractors dislike and what promoters love. Using the SUS and NPS benchmarking system is about gaining a better understanding of where your product is right now. It gives product owners and teams a way to establish a more objective context for their efforts, rather than relying on the same old internal systems and biases. But simply setting a benchmark doesn’t actually give you any pathway to growth…
Audits for smart analysis
Having benchmarks gives you an objective baseline of how your product is being perceived and used. Audits allow you to dig into the reality of the product’s performance and functionality. In PPO, we perform a UX and technology audit - both of which can help you gain that outside perspective once again. A UX audit looks at how your product performs for your users and their needs. It doesn't just establish a bunch of data points. Instead, a good UX audit looks to spot the tangible issues that hamper user progress. You’ll look for technical issues, visual design red flags, how user flows are performing and how your product works in the context of accessibility guidelines. The tech audit is more complex and hard to do internally. It means assessing your technology on both a business level and functionally. It looks to map ways you can leverage your organisation’s infrastructure and codebase to drive change across every area rather than solely through the product. You can borrow from this concept as an internal team member/product owner if you want to try it out without committing to a full business-wide audit. Instead, you’ll audit your team’s technology and how that best facilitates or hinders the growth of your product.
Square one, but better
Taking a step away from your internal thinking and refocusing is never a bad idea. Set new benchmarks that challenge your way of doing things. Audit your product’s performance and your usage of technology as a whole. See your product in a new light that is driven by objective data, rather than subjective thinking. Only then can you begin to consider true innovation. With new data points and a better understanding of what your users want from your product, you’ll have new problems for your team to solve. Take your new insights to them and watch the creativity flow. Alternatively, choose KOMODO’s PPO service, and we’ll do all of this hard work for you. We’re experts in user research, UX design and product development – so we’ll bring the external perspective you need with the technical know-how all projects demand. Contact us now to get started.
Sign up to our newsletter
Be the first to hear about our events, industry insights and what’s going on at Komodo. We promise we’ll respect your inbox and only send you stuff we’d actually read ourselves.