How to give a role to the users to ensure the success of a product?

Victor Arfi, Apr 2020

The digital transformation has led companies to review the relationship with their end users, whether they are customers or employees (internal applications). Agile is spreading widely, making IT teams more efficient and reducing the number of project failures.

https://clearcode.cc/blog/agile-vs-waterfall-method/

Why give a role to the users?

All good! Let’s keep going and our projects will all be successful… 

However, when we take a closer look at the statistics, half of the functionalities developed on the applications do not respond to the users’ problems.  Wasn’t the goal of agile to ensure, through incrementation, the development of the right features according to the real needs of the users? 

Yes, but the objectives to involve users, especially when they are far from the product teams, have not changed for decades and have not been designed for agile: Excel files, qualification meetings with a few users, involvement of key users only, emails etc.. These methods all have a major flaw: it is almost impossible to identify if the feedback is relevant and objective.

AND this has a direct impact on application adoption. For CRM for example, 83% of managers indicated that their main challenge is the adoption of their application by end-users. 

Giving a role to the users ensures the success of the project throughout its life.

Luke had Obiwan Kenobi, you have your users. They are the ones who will guide you to make your project a success, now you have to know how to integrate them into it.

How to give a role to the users?

  1. Give meaning to your project
    Too often users are using new tools without having been enough involved in the design, despite the efforts during the design / recipe phases of product teams. The fault on the methods indicated in the paragraph above. Thus projects can be perceived as imposed on users, even if  you have put your heart into it. Some easy to elements to implement can to help overcome this problem?
  2. Transparency from A to Z on the “reasons why” of your project
    Transparency is too often lacking in companies. If your project has been developed on a purely ROIst logic, don’t hesitate to say so. If it is an upgrade but it will require internal configuration and a period of appropriation, warn them in advance.
  3. Use internal communication
    The more ambitious the project, the more the internal marketing and communication teams need to be involved. This can take the form of communication activities through weekly or bi-monthly newsletters, or via the company intranet. Regular communication with users ensures that you are in control of what’s happening, the progress and that you communicate about successes and difficulties.

    On this subject, I recommend this excellent article by Jamespot on internal communication through the intranet: https://www.jamespot.com/blog/2015/06/22/comment-lintranet-et-le-rse-sassocient-t-ils-au-service-de-la-communication-interne/ 
  4. Create a community and use collective intelligence for your project

    The power of the community is no longer to be demonstrated today. Studies show that collective intelligence multiplies the quality of returns by 5.
    Many tools allow you to simply create communities to allow you to engage your users more and more with you. Do you like your Whatsapp group with your friends? Create a similar experience with your colleagues, explain the purpose of the community, and don’t hesitate to ask them.
  5. Taking into account all the returns is possible thanks to the data

    Processing and researching user returns can become a particularly time-consuming task, knowing that it already occupies an important place in the life of the product owner.
    https://blog.thiga.co/journee-type-dun-product-owner/
    PS: Thanks Thiga for this very funny article 🙂

The intelligent use of your community allows you to automatically aggregate additional feedback and ensure the qualification of feedback. This way, you are relieved of some of the research and above all you are relevant to your developments, putting users at the heart of the project’s success.