I took some notes from a talk given at Yammer on how to do business with enterprises.
Tl;dr: Lean startup for enterprise.
- Ask customer about his/her problems
- Compare customer conversation with external data. Try to find outside sources of information/data that support or contradict it.
- Watch how people use the product (usage data) to see if what you thought was right
- But keep larger vision in mind.
This image below illustrates the divide between you and your customers interests in a feature.
The typical enterprise software is measured in number of features. But more features != a better product. Sometimes you find you need to remove features, which may raise concerns from a vocal minority.
Details of testing/developing new features (aka The Lean Startup)
- Release to small percentage of users (20%)
- Explain to customer the advantages of A/B testing
- Long dev cycles 6 mo/3 year could lead to big expectations that fail–no one uses it
- Short dev cycles provide quicker feedback and end up developing better product that people want to use
Dealing with enterprise customer feature wish list
- Push back or risk developing something the user doesn’t want
- Ask questions: Understand the essence or goal of what the feature is trying to accomplish
- Likely just a vocal minority
- Keep customer informed of changes (without spamming them with email)
- Try to find data to take the subjective opinions out of the discussion
- Create online forum–side effect: happy customers help angry customers
Notes about getting new users involved
- ‘Ask’ feature: a fellow user asks you to complete some task like uploading a profile picture
- Didn’t find a tooltip help guide useful (but it may work for others)
Analytics & reporting wasn’t useful
- Only small percentage of users would want it
- Significant resources (engineering, time, money) that could of gone into building something more important
- Also, analytics was already going into iterating on the product
- Side effect, they allow other companies to do the reporting (using API) and customers are surprised how expensive is Analytics & Reporting