How to (not) let customers kill your product

How to (not) let customers kill your product

Recently I received a really good article by mail from the publisher of the Product Management Journal. It’s about letting customers kill your product. Better prevent them from doing that.

Often it all starts with a fancy idea, and soon the first customer is landed. Second, third and so on follows fast. But 5 years later the product is a mess. How comes? Because every customer has his own needs and tries to pull the product in his direction and want you to build custom functionality in. This leads to a house-of-cards, and at one point, it will collapse. A clear product vision can help to prevent you from that, since building lots of custom features is not a great idea because it’s short-term thinking.

Here the intro of the article: “Imagine you’re building the next Ferrari. What do you think would happen if you reduced the number of cylinders in the engine because one customer asked? Or added big side view mirrors for towing caravans at the request of another?

Of course anyone can see that this would result in a car that’s not even close to being worthy of the Ferrari name. You might offer configuration options but you stay true to the vision of what makes a Ferrari a Ferrari.

So if this is so clear, why is this problem so disturbingly common in (B2B) software products?

Well, strange as it may sound, your customers are great at killing products and it’s up to you to stop them!”


Read the whole article here: