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You're accountable for customer value

When building a product, creating customer value should always be the company’s number one priority. After all, we’re building things for others, not for ourselves. While the idea seems pretty straightforward, there is a difference between “building what people want” and “building what people need” - and within that fine line is where the product’s purpose exists.

So how do you go about creating value in the first place?

Let’s take a look at three key components that will pave the way for your team.

Have clarity on company goals

If you’ve been following for a while, I may be sounding like a bit of a broken record, but it all really does boil down to your company’s vision.

A solid company vision will give way to a product concept everyone is aligned on, which will then allow you to map out the rest of your strategy. This will include company goals everyone can work towards as a single entity instead of having conflicting priorities across the board.

Clarity on company goals will help have a measurable product strategy, and allow you to keep track of impact and progress. If the work that you are doing has no impact, it’s a key indicator that your solutions are probably not creating a lot of value in the first place.

Align on who your customer is

More often than not, companies try to please everyone by building features that will (in theory) attract as many customers as possible. But in trying to build so many things, they lose sight of what the product is meant to do, and even worse, who it’s meant to do it for.

In order to create true customer value, make sure everyone is aligned on who your customer is meant to be. Don’t try to rush to create features for everyone, rather take a step back and see which target market you can start in. Once you’ve established yourself there, you can continue to seek product-market fit in adjacent segments.

Solve the right problems

Now that you’ve got a company vision and product concept, and you have alignment around that target audience you are serving, only then can you really focus on solving problems.

This is where you can start asking questions such as:

  • Which initiatives support your company goals?
  • Which of those initiatives help reach a customer outcome?

Next, analyze and validate your risky value assumptions. Where can you experiment further, and what can you learn in order to move forward?

Create and agree on a product value creation plan that will allow you to highlight where and how initiatives will have an impact towards your company goals. This will create clarity across the organization and allow you to remain aligned as you seek to understand which projects with the most impact you can move forward.

Remember, being in product means you’re starting off with as many questions as possible. As you start finding answers, there will be less ambiguity as to why and how decisions are made, and allow your entire team to create solutions that deliver value.