An often overlooked activity in internal product development, regardless of your approach, is delivering product changes to your users and getting them up to speed.
To be fair, the act of deployment is getting much more attention now that DevOps has achieved buzzword status. There isn’t necessarily the same energy around getting your users up to speed.
This seems especially to be the case in the agile community. As far as I can tell, when the topic is brought up at all, it’s usually in the form of someone asking how to train their end users and those questions are met initially with “that’s not agile” (which should go down in history as the world’s most worthless answer). That response is followed by comments that “you should design your software to be intuitive enough that you don’t need to train users.”
Yes, you should.
And in many internal products, user experience has been ignored for so long that you’re not going to get to an intuitive product overnight. Plus, one person’s intuitive is another’s confusing as hell.
So you need to figure out a way to get your users familiar with changes to your product as quickly as possible. One potential source for inspiration, if not direct help, is the idea of user onboarding frequently used in SaaS software.
I’ve provided a collection of resources that touch on these issues and would love to hear any approaches you’ve found helpful to effectively deliver your product to users and getting them up to speed.
How agile business analysts help users implement a solution
8th post in a series about agile business analysts. This one explores how agile business analysts help users and stakeholders implement a solution.
DevOps explained for product people
You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘devops’ used by your team but you may not be sure exactly what it means.
Devops is typically defined as a combination of 3 distinct disciplines: development, QA and operations and is best thought of as a culture and not a single project. It’s a culture which, when fostered and implemented effectively, can have a major impact not only on how your team works day to day but also on your users.
DevOps and the product owner
The DevOps Group suggests that when you as a product owner work in an organization that effectively uses devops, you need to focus on the entire lifecycle of your product, not just the delivery of a project/feature/phase.
You also need to see non functional requirements as equally important as functional requirements for your product. To reinforce that it’s helpful to think of non-functional requirements as “operational requirements” because that label conveys the importance of those types of requirements in the product life cycle.
What is user onboarding? A better definition
The term user onboarding gets thrown around a lot in the software world, but has varying definitions — even to people on the same team! Some say it’s teaching new users, others that it’s indistinguishable from user experience, while others imagine it to just be swipe screens or a quick product tour.
In this primer on user onboarding, Pulkit Agrawal defines User onboarding as the system of actively guiding users to find new value in your product and describes how it’s relevant throughout the life of your product.
Helping users “get it:” The churn-stopping power of product education
It’s going to take some time for your users to get acquainted with your product and start using it to its fullest potential.
The experience during those early days can make all the difference between a user who’s happy and successful, and one who’s churned and currently hanging out with your #1 competitor.
Your product design matters a ton here. But beyond that, there’s also the often overlooked aspect of product education and user training.
Misha Abasov explains why there’s no such thing as too much product education and how his team approached helping their customers get familiar with their product.