Jan 03, 2021

Should I build the feature request from customers?

“Thanks for your last article. I wonder what if the feature request comes from our customers, would it be okay to build that?” A reader asked.

In my last article, I argued there’s a higher risk of failing when the team builds a solution without understanding the problem. Especially dangerous when the team can’t kill the solution when it’s not solving problems.

We don’t want to create a solution to non-problem. It’s a waste of time and resources.

Now, what about customer requests? We’re customer-centric. Shouldn’t we listen to the customer? Not really, the same principles applied here. We shouldn’t build a solution because the customer said so. Customers don’t really know what they want. In this situation, we need to understand why the customer wants that solution. What is the underlying problem the customer is trying to solve?

By knowing the problem, your team can begin to explore what is the best solution for that. Now, of course, there is the time when the solution is so obvious. For example, when we interviewed customers, they complained that they can’t find the entry point they looked for. Turned out it’s moved somewhere, so it’s obvious we need a way to communicate that. In this case, the team knows the problem and can implement the solution right away. But not all problem is as simple as that.

It’s our job to identify the problem and figure out the best solution to solve it. Our job is not to ask for what users want. We look for their needs.

Hope this resonates! Happy new year!

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