Technologies do not stand still and the development processes move with them too. Earlier the companies commonly used «Waterfall» model, but at present, the priority is mostly given to «Scrum» placement. Evolution also takes place in the sphere of IT services provision. Earlier the companies provided their clients with a software product of a good quality within the budget and that was all. Today IT companies intend to offer maximum benefit to the client and his business, providing him with professional expertise.
Let’s look at the example of developing a product to the client in accordance with his requirements list. The client comes to the company with a specific task and leaves it later with a certain solution. Seems rather simple: The client has got what he wanted — a product developed according to his requirement list.
But what is the problem? In fact, businesses do not need the solutions developed according to certain requirement lists, they need products, which operate and bring benefit. As a rule, it is not contingent on the quality of the development, but in most cases, it’s subject to the following facts: if it has demand in the market, if it is clear to the users and if it has the Value Proposition in general.
According to the statistical data of Cbinsights.com 9 out of 10 startups fail. The main reason of most of the failures, 42%, is because nobody needs the proposed product.
We believe that a good product cannot be developed without a profound knowledge of its users. Being direct participants of the product creation we want to know for whom we do it and what tasks we should solve.
Such work is quite another level of team involvement into the process and quite another level of communication with the customer. If we know the business and the clients of the customer well, we can talk the same language and offer really interesting solutions, which will suit everyone.
So, what do we need research for?
We should mention that the research can be conducted for a startup as well as for a ready-made product all the way of its development.
So, what do we need research for?
- to understand the aims, the problems, the motives of the users and the context of product usage;
- to find out the usability problems in the current version or in the solutions of the competitors;
- to find new ideas for product development and new insights;
- to understand what attitude the users have to your product compared to that of the competitors.
Let’s deal with it in more detail.
To understand the aims, the problems, the motives of the users and the context of product usage.
Behind any action, there is an aim, and behind any aim, there is a motive. It’s important for us to understand why the user performs this or that task so that we can offer him a number of solutions to meet his needs.
Just imagine: the user does not want to register on the site and does not want to create content on it, he wants to become famous, for instance. He wants to make a name for himself for money or fame, but there are plenty of other ways to do it. Even taking into consideration that we can offer only one way to reach the aim, we still can do it in various ways.
Design can also depend on the context in which the product is used. There is a difference between a relaxed usage of some solution in a calm domestic environment from the computer or using the interface from a smartphone screen in an overcrowded transport.
Learn, Why your startup needs MVP
To find out the usability problems in the current version or in the solutions of the competitors.
In case the client has a ready solution, we must study it obligatory. We also have to perform the usability testing of it to find out how effectively and productively the users can interact with the product and how satisfied they are with it.
Even if our customer does not have a ready solution, there should definitely be some similar products. Nobody wants to step on the same rakes the others do. That’s why we prefer to test the competitor’s product to avoid their mistakes in the process of the development a solution for our customer.
To find new ideas for product development and new insights.
You are sure to remember the catchphrase of Henry Ford «If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.» This phrase can be interpreted in various ways. When the customer presents his idea to us we always ask him «What will it give you? How do you solve this problem now? How much can you pay for this function?» It’s quite different from a simple satisfying the client’s whims.
There is a big difference between creating a horse accelerator and understanding of the problem of slow transfer for relatively short distances and solving it.
To understand what attitude the users have to your product compared to that of the competitors.
In case we deal with a unique product for a unique audience, it will most likely not care about the competitors, but even in such cases, there can be indirect contenders, which will still lessen your profit.
In any case, we need to understand with whom we are going to compete with and which advantages the users find in the competitor solutions. It’s essential to define what we can borrow, and what we won’t adopt, not to repeat the mistakes of the others. Besides, we always try to find something we can make what our competitors do not have, but the users expect it to have.
In conclusion, we’d like to say that the development of IT solutions today moves the direction of satisfying the customers’ needs.
Everybody has already realized long ago that a good technical implementation can help the product withstand great loads, avoid the problems of scaling, and support the code in a good condition for many years. However, not always the customers realize at once if their clear code without any bugs is really needed to anybody
Don’t rely only on your personal opinion, find the problems of the users, investigate them and invent a solution for them. Test if you are going the right direction and the probability of failure will be significantly reduced.