Nothing tells customers that you care about them quite like your product. Imagine having a highly intuitive interface designed to make users’ lives easier. Customers will quickly realize that you take customer-centricity very seriously.
While most product companies have core values and beliefs that they swear by, their products may not always reflect the same. This gap arises when the company’s actions are not guided by the values they have set. Instead, you need to proactively work toward embedding these values into your product development and management process.
Read on to explore the different practical ways you can ingrain your values into your product.
1. Analyze your existing position.
Go back to the drawing board and review the values your product currently represents or sets out to represent. Analyze if your product has been fulfilling those standards. For instance, if you want your product to help customers do more with less, evaluate the actual cost-effectiveness of your product and compare it with your competitors. Then, make a call whether to retain it.
Taking a step back to analyze helps you in multiple ways. You can either make timely course corrections so that the development roadmap matches your values or reconfigure your values based on actual performance. In both cases, it helps your product management team prioritize the right things and deliver a customer experience that matches the values you’ve promised.
2. Communicate your values clearly.
It is unrealistic to expect employees to know your values when you haven’t communicated the same to them clearly. Having posters that reflect your values or creating a dedicated web page or blog post about your values can help. But don’t stop at that! The values have to be a part of the daily conversation.
You need to ensure that values are part of the conversation right when an employee sees your job advertisement. By the time an employee is onboarded, they should be aware of what your product stands for and the challenges your product solves, for whom and how.
Create standard practices and procedures that will help reiterate these values. It could be as simple as making it common to conduct a user experience survey after every significant feature rollout because you value usability and intuitiveness. Alternatively, if the speed of delivery is a priority, there could be a monthly meeting to brainstorm how to increase the same.
3. Encourage employee participation.
Embedding values in your product cannot be a top-down initiative. Your employees are the ones in the trenches day-in and day-out. They develop and build the product and support the customers. They are bound to have ideas about what the product is and what it should stand for. And, if you are not on the same page, the end product will suffer. It will be neither one thing nor the other.
Therefore, what you can do is provide a broad framework for employees to work in. Give them the leeway to experiment and shape the product independently while keeping in mind the overarching values.
Simply ask your team to provide suggestions and tweaks to make your product more aligned with the defined values. Then, set up a form to collect their ideas and the reasoning behind their suggestions. Review the entries, turn feasible ones into Kanban cards and set a priority level and deadlines for each.
4. Link product imperatives with metrics.
The process of embedding values doesn’t stop at implementing your plans. You have to track the progress and impact of your initiatives actively. Since it is an ongoing process, you have to evaluate the effectiveness of your initiatives and look toward optimizing them.
To evaluate their effectiveness, you need to break down the values into tangible goals. Simply put, achieving these goals would imply that you have successfully ingrained the value into your product. For instance, if you claim to value customer data privacy, one of your goals could be to go completely cookieless.
You need to link these goals with metrics that you can track along with setting tangible goals. If you want to make customers self-reliant, you might want to keep an eye on metrics such as Customer Effort Score, Call Volume Trend, etc. Not only does tracking help you understand the extent to which your plans have been successful, but it also allows you to tweak them when needed.
Ingraining these values into product management and development practices is critical to keeping your product on the right track. It ensures that the team never loses sight of the end goals or prioritizes something irrelevant. Moreover, you will be able to craft a unique product experience and retain the core spirit of your product no matter how big the company becomes.