Setbacks are rarely welcome in the product cycle, but the earlier they happen, the better.
The only thing worse than a late setback is a setback that could have been fixed much earlier but was ignored. Warnings that go ignored often destroy products, sink companies, and wreck careers.
Because of the damage, an overlooked issue can cause, you’re going to hunt for problems actively. Rare is the issue that only impacts the design of the product, so you’ll need to communicate openly with your team’s impacted members.
You might be wondering why a designer is shouldering this burden. It’s because the designer is often the closest team member to the user. You’re in a position to test the product with real people, and that’s typically where the issues become visible.
It will feel easier to speak up when you have years of experience, and some organizations are more open to the testing process than others. With that in mind, let’s cover some of the common problems that pop up when you bring an issue to light:
...but it’s working as designed.
You’ll hear this from everyone, including yourself. This retort is more of a statement to discredit the user’s observation, but remember that the user wasn’t tested — the product was. If the product failed, it did so because of the design. So please fix it.
...we don’t have time to address that right now.
This statement is a legitimate problem that impacts many teams. Everyone may be on an insane deadline. Rather than discuss the underlying issue (project management), let’s focus on whether that portion of the product has to ship. Sometimes you’re able to push back certain features — which could buy you the time needed to correct it.
...X department doesn’t see a problem.
A far more significant issue is when part of the team or organization fails to acknowledge the problem exists. This situation requires you to call on your alliances and practice diplomacy to bring the other party to the table. Be prepared to present the issue as a story backed by data. You won’t win all of these situations, but you should always try.
Length: One-to-two hours to complete.
As illustrated above, product testing observations can illuminate significant issues with products that are dangerous to the organization’s structure.
Luckily you’re working on this project alone, so you get to call the shots.
Culling directly from your testing sessions, find three things that need improvement in your prototype. Large or small, every nudge forward is an improvement.
Identify the three issues you plan to address and submit them to Feedback Loop for review.
Once approved, begin making the adjustments needed while carefully documenting your updates. Your updates will be featured prominently in the case study work that follows.
Once complete, update your Program Journal with links to the assets produced for this exercise. Post your Journal in the #Feedback-Loop channel for review.
Up next Fresh Market: Case Study