A product is only as good as the team that builds it.
Here’s what I’ve learned in 10 years of assembling successful teams:
Everyone—developers, product managers, designers, growth hackers, customer support staff—should understand how their work and actions directly influence the product.
Early interactions—think job interviews—are key for implementing a product-first mentality. When team members recognize they share the same goal, productivity increases.
It’s all about giving team members the chance to be heard without repercussions. Hold regularly scheduled discussions in an open and convenient setting; we typically have them around lunch where everyone in the office can participate and voice their opinions on features we are currently building—or should be building. When someone has prepared for the discussion and delivers a passionate case for taking the product in a certain direction, their ability to "own" a piece of the process has an exponential effect on the quality of the product.
It is the CEO’s responsibility to define the constraints around the product. Blue-sky thinking is great when you’re just getting started, but as the product starts to settle and the market fit has been established, it is important for the CEO to clearly communicate and define the constraints within which the product will scale—these can be business constraints or product/feature based constraints.
We all know users are inundated with apps and web properties urging them to download or use their product.
Remember that there is a finite amount of time that your users have. In seven seconds or less, a prospective user is going to make a judgment about your entire product—this absolutely necessitates the need for beautiful and efficient design. If your product feels cumbersome to use in the first seven seconds, then you have most likely lost her for life. Bad design is fatal in today’s market.
Don’t just announce your product and expect reporters to come running. Make the time investment to figure out the various factors that could affect your launch week set up partnerships ahead of time, mobilize your initial beta users to ensure that these users are delighted by the features available during launch. If they’re not, postpone everything (you heard that right) and get to a more complete product before you launch.
—Kiran Bellubbi is the founder and CEO of Applauze [www.applauze.com], a mobile ticketing company based in Mountain View, California.
[Image: Flickr user Matt Smith]