Building a New Product: Phase 1 – Be Prepared to Change Direction

Once you’ve launched the product and tested how users interact with it, getting feedback on if they find it useful and what changes would make it a better mousetrap for them, you need to be prepared to change direction accordingly.  Many startups fail because they were built for a singular idea that was supposed to be the perfect solution to a problem and they were too focused on that exact solution that they didn’t adapt to the market and users.  Rarely will your product be exactly what is needed if it’s a new or unique solution.  You design the product thinking of yourself as the user, but then testing shows that you are not your user and they really want something slightly, or vastly, different from your offering.  If this is the case, then adapt and adjust your roadmap accordingly.  Rapidly iterate, while testing, to find the right combination that hits a nerve with your users and allows your product to take off.

street post with change blvd and hope way signs

Most successful startups are very different when they reach success from when they first started.  For example, Paypal was actually started as a cryptography service, then evolved to pda payments before becoming successful at being the de facto online payment system.  People talk about Agile programming all the time, but product management needs to be agile as well.  You don’t need to create a 5 year business plan before you create your startup; in fact, there is very little chance that the plan will still be accurate even a few months into your startup if you are doing it right.  What you need is a good idea of how to solve a pain point in a better way than currently available, the motivation and resources to build a prototype of that solution, the data from testing the solution on consumers to gauge market reaction, and the ability to pivot and change the solution to match what the market actually will respond to.

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