Humans Around A Desk #5 - It's all about keeping perspective

Thu, Sep 2, 2021       3-minute read

Keeping perspective with growth

In the early days of a product, it is difficult to get a good measure of which of your efforts work well and which do not. You can get a lot of great feedback from your early adopters, but can also fall into the trap of relying too heavily on their advice—after all, they are by definition happy to accept a product that is experimental and lacks polish.

The difficulty comes in striking the balance between working with your early adopters to build a product that technically does the job, and looking further afield to uncover the blockers that will prevent you from gaining mass adoption with the more picky users that will follow.

No matter what is working now, always keep one eye on the future.

Users only want one thing

When developing a feature, it is common to work in a silo where the new feature is discussed, designed, fed back on, approved and eventually built.

But what happens when that process results in two or more features that have to live side by side in production, each with very clear (but different) users journeys attached to them? When you intend a user to do a certain thing, what happens when another feature exposes entirely unrelated CTAs? Can you be confident that the user will know to ignore them?

They may not realise it, but users generally want one thing from your platform: a clear UX that helps them intuitively know what to do next. So while you may explore new features in a silo, it pays to reconcile them with what already exists before starting the build. Does each screen of your platform have one and only one obvious ‘next’ thing to do?

Keep sight of what you can achieve

If you are anything like me, you have an imaginary alter ego—a perfect version of your professional self who always has ample opportunity and motivation to do all the right things. Especially those things that you espouse on stage, in your blog or as inspirational LinkedIn snippets.

But real life rarely accommodates us in this manner, and we fall short of our ideals. So ask yourself: what things would your ideal self do that you feel you do not get the opportunity to? Then ask yourself what is really stopping you from doing those things, and are there any small changes you can take the initiative with?

Maybe you’ll struggle to win 20% Time for your team, but I bet you have the power to listen to ideas, lobby for new equipment and give constructive feedback. Do not wait for permission to do the things that are within your scope of influence.

Being your best self isn’t all or nothing—do as much as you can, and then aspire to the rest.