Effective feedback gathering

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Collecting feedback from users is crucial to understanding how to deliver value (see: Ways of delivering value).

There are three steps in the feedback gathering process:

  1. Planning.
  2. Execution.
  3. Consolidation.

For the planning, it's important to understand the scope of the session. People with different roles will have access to different information, and mixing them up can be misleading. A manager may not know how long it takes to execute on a specific task, or how frustrating it is. An operator may not know about the internal politics to get funds for a purchase.

At the planning stage, 202303251644 Jobs to be done framework (and specifically jobs theory and customer journeys) can be a good choice. It would allow to identify different tasks ("jobs") that may be executed by different people on the same product.

The execution is the actual feedback gathering. Although larger companies can leverage an extensive user base to run questionnaires, startups need to perform a more hands-on approach. Talking to customers is the fastest way of getting feedback. Reaching out and having a meaningful conversation.

There are some tricks to extract the most: ask open-ended questions, ask "why" as much as you think is worth it. Be sure you cover the aspects you wanted to cover after careful planning of the session.

Digital startups have an added advantage since they can collect feedback in the form of interactions. Where people click, what message do they react to. However, that works at the optimization step. To identify opportunities you must go out there and talk to people (even if online).

The consolidation of feedback is crucial to learn and for efficient iteration. Writing down thoughts and crucial pieces of information in a systematic way is the most important. Write down what you've learned that you wanted to learn, and what has surprised you.

It's important to keep updating the approach as new information comes to light. If you find out some important insight with a customer, it may be useful to validate it in follow up meetings. Is it a real need or is it an individual request? Opportunities can arise just like that.


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