Iteration: A necessity for a great product

Change everything except your wife and children” said by Samsung’s boss Lee Kun-Hee is the baseline of what i am going to tell you about. I have embraced a product management role in a US healthcare startup where I am building a new product for their integrated business suite for dentistry.

My beliefs and myths in creating products where wasted ashore at three months into my product development. At the earlier phases ,I spend a lot of time fetching requirements and finalizing them and in creating prototypes. I went through a vigorous and disturbing pace where I kind off rushed so many procedures which I had to go by the game.But there was a point where I felt my prototype was ready for a round of demo with the various stakeholders and my primary users.

Demo Day

Prior to demo ,I have fallen in love with what I have built. I was so madly in love that a slightest suggestion for a change in what I have done was so UNBEARABLE!!!!!. I was expecting a ruckus during the demo but to my whim,the stakeholders loved it. Even I got a few rave reviews that I was not expecting at all.It kind off felt odd. And it is odd. I believe getting criticized (good/bad) during a demo is a necessity. You will not thrive yourself to get better if you are never criticized.

Acceptance+Change=Iteration

Till now the only iterations that have happened to my product are those which I did myself.None of them came from introspection from any stakeholders,developers or product guys with me. Once I had another guy with me in product development for the same product the examination and introspection all lead to better design and those iterations where good.They gave the product the finesse that I was searching for. There where times when we both went to have 10–14 iterations on the product design in a gap of two to three days.

But one day the CEO walked up to my bench and had a overview of the product.I had only a single sprint completed on the product and he reviewed it. But for the first time I got a review that was entirely different from those I had till date.I created something that will please my inner product managerial cum designer skills that i have failed to make it user-friendly.It pulled me down to the floor and I was so humbled by the comments he gave. I had no words to counter them coz they were right in all manner. The melancholy mode was on. I had loved the product too much that i could not receive a negative review on it and that too from the man I had idolized. My friend and another product guy walked next to me and said “Sachu,doesnt take change at all.”. I was so naive to accept truths that I even felt his suggestions where unnecessary. This is what happens when you fall in blind love with your product. Of all things you do in your career NEVER FALL IN LOVE WITH THE PRODUCT. It makes you blind,blind to revelations,blind to suggestions,blind to change and blind to the decision to ITERATE.

You will never make a good product until you iterate and iterate on time. Getting out an MVP and iterating it will help you create the product that your user requires and if you dont you will create something that pleases you but not your job or the stakeholders or user. At the end of the day you would only have to answer two questions “Who will use your product and Will it satisfy their needs.” If you find the answer to the first you create a great product but until you answer the second your product will never find its use,the purpose that it has to serve.