What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word, pivot? For me, it’s season 5, episode 16 of Friends, when Ross is trying to move a couch up his New York apartment building stairwell.
For others, it might call to mind Excel spreadsheets, switching directions, or making quick adjustments. Nonetheless, according to Forbes, pivot means “fundamentally changing the direction of a business when you realize the current products or services aren't meeting the needs of the market.”
If you think back to this past year, pivoting is exactly what the majority of successful companies had to do. As a product manager, you’re at the intersection of business, technology, and UX—a large part of that pivot movement in 2020.
Highlights from INDUSTRY: The Product Conference
UserTesting recently sponsored INDUSTRY: The Product Conference for software product managers. The 2-day virtual event was centered around building products and product experiences that your customers love—from problem-solving during product development to communicating product value.
Throughout the entire two days, the concept of pivoting underscored most of the presentations. Here are our three main takeaways from the event:
1. Your customers hold the key to product success
As a product manager, you’re driving the vision, strategy, design, and execution of a product that your customers will (hopefully) love. However, it’s difficult to do so without including customers in your decision-making and development process.
Daniel Elizalde, Product Leadership Coach and Advisor, discussed why your first ten customers hold the key to your product’s success. She explained that:
- Your customers can give you concrete goals to work toward when you’re lacking prioritization and innovation direction
- Testing prototypes with customers will help you identify where and how you can deliver value
- Iterating on your prototypes and designs will provide the evidence you need to make next-step decisions with confidence
2. Have a continuous improvement mindset
People will forget what your product does, but they will never forget how your product made them feel.
Teresa Torres, Product Discovery Coach, spoke on JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) training for continuous discovery teams, and noted that we subconsciously build our biases, hierarchies, and societal inequities into the products that we design and build.
Ask yourself, who am I designing for? Who is it working for? Who am I leaving out?
In other words, design with your customers, not for your customers. Co-create solutions by involving your customers throughout every stage of the development process.
3. Leverage quantitative and qualitative data together
UserTesting’s Senior Director of Product Management, Brian Tran, hosted a roundtable breakout session at INDUSTRY, titled: Making better product decisions by using quantitative and qualitative data.
In his discussion, he uncovered how quantitative product data is representative of the 'what', while qualitative data is an expression of the ‘why’. By leveraging both forms of data throughout the development process, product managers are able to understand a more holistic view of the customer’s needs, expectations, and pain points.
Pivot with confidence
Pivoting means change, and change was seemingly the only constant this past year. If ever you’re unsure about your next product-related decision, lean on your customers for feedback and direction—they’re your key.
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