How To Start A User-Driven Approach To Software Development In A Startup Environment


Being a technical founder has its own challenges. One of the biggest challenges is prioritizing what to work on. Never ending features, improvements, & bugs to work on but it seems like there’s not enough time & resources. 🤦‍♀️ Check out how one of our founders, Putri Karunia, deals with it.

When I first started working on my startup, I focused on coding day & night. We thought responding to users was enough to know what to build. For 11 months, we struggled to grow our user base while continuing to push out new features 😓

At the end of the year, we decided to pivot and build a new product. We thrown over 7 projects that we had built down the drain 😣

I was becoming skeptical, so I convinced the team to talk to these potential users before making any new products.

After the first 20 interviews, I had a rough idea of what people needed and we built a very simple minimal viable product (MVP). Instead of immediately polishing it up, we pushed the buggy product and asked people to try it out.

It was painful but ultimately worth the trouble 💪

We continued interviewing and making updates weekly.

Five months later, we had interviewed hundreds, had thousand of users on the waitlist. And we finally successfully launched a product 🔥

We turned this into a framework for building subsequent features & products. Here it is:

1. Start with the user and their problem 💁

Talk to communities about their problems to understand more about them, who they are, & how to find more people like them.

2. Set up a landing page with a waitlist 💻

Having a landing page that explains the problem clearly helps a lot in attracting more people to talk to you. A form inside will inform you about key points of the product you're building.

3. Set up user interviews ✍

Follow professional sources will help first-time interviewers avoid biased thinking and getting hypothetical answers.

4. Define what your MVP is 👩‍🏫

Start defining the MVP based on the feedback of the first few people. Don’t rush into building them. It might be better to be built on the next version instead.

5. Build the MVP 👩

Start building in parallel with your user interviews. Remember to keep it simple; the objective is to let users try out your solution.

6. Release and get feedback from new users 🌈

It's important to have a feedback channel so it is easy for users to share their feedback.

Keep an eye on the feedback to understand how your product is doing. Continue to iterate and see what people use it for the most. This information can help you prioritize what improvements and fixes to work on next.

Taking a step back and talking to your potential users can save you from wasting time and effort. From invalidating assumptions to gaining an audience before even having a product, user interview is something you should always prioritize when starting a new project.

Find the full article here.

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