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How to build a product - 9 simple steps

How to build a product - 9 simple steps

This is a summary of everything we’ve learned from watching hundreds of hours of videos and reading more than 50 articles to build a great product as a team.

If you are a product owner, all the efforts you are putting in today, is for one simple cause:

Get the product to the customers’ hands as soon as possible.

The following points were hand-picked to achieve that goal as a team. This article is also a reminder for us to make sure we are sticking on to these rules/processes to build a great product.

Since most of these points are self-explanatory, we will keep it short for you.

1. Assign a product owner

If you are the only founder of the product, you are the only person in charge of the product & its decisions.

If you are working with a team, then assign someone who loves working on the product. Make sure they are completely responsible to get the product out in the market and understands a bit of marketing as well.

Read on: Who is Chief Product Officer. Everything you need to know →

2. Set clear KPIs

Key Performance Indicators are measurable targets that you set for each person in the team to achieve. This usually boils down from the top of the company all the way to the last person who recently joined you.

KPIs could be something like:

  • Gain 200 paying customers every quarter
  • Improve user engagement score by 50%

KPIs help evaluate the success of the product. Typically helpful when you are thinking of raising funds to grow your product.

3. Fix a release schedule

Since 2018, we have been experimenting with different release schedules. It could be ranging from releasing a feature of improvement every Tuesday or every six weeks once.

You (Product Owner) are the best person to decide this along with the team. Huddle up, and set a schedule that will work for your product.

Pro Tip: Make sure your release cycles are better than that of your competitors.

Read on: Read how our new release cycle improved customer retention →

4. Organize Product Huddle meetings

Product Huddles are meetings where everyone in the team come prepared about how they can achieve the KPIs better.

For example, at the beginning of the year, we all sat down to share ideas on achieving $3000 MRR by June this year. Our designers, developers and product managers came prepared with a set of activities that we can perform to achieve this goal and how to measure it.

These huddle meetings are a great way to keep everyone involved in the team, and have them own a part of the product.

5. Collect, Organize and Vote on features

Gone are the days where you build something out, and the users either hate it or like it. Products Owners have become open to listening to their customers, by allowing their customers to submit feedback or vote on existing feedback submitted by the others.

Tools like Hellonext helps Product Owners & Product Managers organize feedback in one single place, and keep their users involved in the product building process.

We wrote about how this worked out very well for us recently. You can read the article from the link below:

Read on: What we learned by allowing users to vote on product features →

6. Organize feedback and new features

Feature requests can be daunting. Some features might be easy, some might be tough.

While the easy ones could take just a few hours to build, test and ship. The complex features could take weeks or months worth of effort. Depending on your team’s strength, and the thoughts from your engineers, prioritize the features you would like to build immediately for the users.

As you do that, keep your users informed that the feature they requested, is being worked on.

7. Test, Test, Test, Test & Test again

This was one of the biggest mistakes we did early-on while building Hellonext. While we focused on shipping features fast, we failed to invest time and money in testing.

We quickly realized that, and started investing in testing, and today, we have zero bugs on the platform, across devices. This took a while for us to learn, but if you are reading this, remember that testing is as important as marketing or sales in your organization.

Your sales pitch should commit to what you are promising. When the product is buggy, sales pitch just fails.

8. Document everything

Many people misinterpret that Move fast and break things is meant only for development. Here’s what the phrase actually means about shipping features fast:

  • Write stable code faster
  • Write test-cases for the code faster
  • Learn from what you messed up yesterday and fix it today
  • Make sure to document every process or code block so that someone else can take it up later and improve it faster

We see many companies take this for granted, and it is important to maintain a strong knowledge base for your company about everything everyone knows. Notion is a great tool for that.

Read the Tweet: Here’s how Skcript’s Notion homepage looks like

9. Use tools that work for you

Get away from the hype. If Microsoft Teams is what works for your team and product best to achieve the KPI, use that. Don’t follow the hype.

Ultimately, you need to choose what’s best for your company, not follow the hype and expect that it would work out well for you.

Bonus: Assign at least two days a week for deep work

We as humans have too many things to talk. Especially when we are remote, you have much more free time than ever before, allowing your brain to be creative and think of new ideas.

There will be so many light bulb moments during such time, and our natural instinct is to call someone up in the team to ask them to build it. This consumes time and takes the focus away from the product and its KPIs.

To avoid this, write everything down. Let is slide for the next one week. And block two days out of a week to do deep work. During these days, there are no meetings, nothing. You are already busy working, writing, creating sales documents or anything that you should be doing.

We build Hellonext: This article is a part of our journey in building Hellonext and sharing our lessons so that you can build a better product. If you are a startup, you get to use all the features of Hellonext for just $10/month. Support us, and grow with us →

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