What’s your strategy against the “build trap”?

Our quick responsive systems have made us be more agile and react fast. Our powerful computers take no time in getting booted up. Neither our touch screens taking any time to respond (hardly ~80-270 milliseconds). Similarly, the chat software like skype, WhatsApp or productivity tools like slack takes almost zero time to deliver the message. We just tapped ‘send’ and our recipient’s mobile made the known notification sound.

So, things are fast – we are building it also faster. Thanks to the agile processes and overall maturity of the team to build the feature faster. This got a little forward push by DevOps and automation tools to instantly push the code in the market.

In this whole process, we have mastered on how to deliver the features quicker. But, we have not considered the aspect of – are we building the “right” features?

As the customers can’t tolerate the delays in the system because they are habitual to highly responsive products around them. Similarly, customers are quicker to reject your product based on some of the nasty features. It’s fierce competition out there with lots of ‘me too’ products and your repeated valueless features would cost you with diminishing customer-base.

We get into the “build trap” easily as it is like an assembly line and it has less uncertainty as compared to the points mentioned below. We always try to adopt a less uncertain path.

  • How many times did we try to understand the customer who would be using the product?
  • Did we have any insights around what are the real needs of our customers?
  • Which are the annoying features – yours and your competitors?
  • What are the real market demands and who are your personas?
  • Can you make the product better by adding ‘feature X’?

The current pandemic has changed the world – and it has changed our needs, priorities, and even our preferences too. It should be the utmost priority to understand the change otherwise you would be building useless features and wasting the money, efforts, and losing the customer base.