May 30th, 2024

Feature Article


  Written by: David Stevens, Director of Business Development

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Bridging the gap.

A room full of gifted developers can build some pretty incredible stuff, but without the input of an end-user, it can quickly become a pile of wasted time and effort. Studies show that nearly 80% of software features are rarely or never used. With worldwide software spending expected to exceed $1 trillion this year, the prospect of $800 billion being wasted is no easy pill to swallow.

Feedback is fundamental in bridging this gap between the vision of developers and the reality of the end user. However, eliciting honest and constructive feedback is not always easy. A whole host of inhibitions stand between a user and actionable feedback. Whether it be pessimism, self-doubt, indifference, or preoccupation, the challenge lies in encouraging users to participate and express their opinions openly.

To overcome these barriers and keep developers focused on the work that matters most, we emphasize three core strategies for eliciting user feedback:

  1. Involve them from the start.
    While understanding user personas is a valuable stepping-stone, direct involvement is much more effective. Engaging users from the beginning ensures that their needs and expectations shape the development of the solution from the start.

  2. Guide them to the value.
    Users may lack experience when it comes to the software development process. It’s crucial that we help them articulate their thoughts in a way that provides value. Targeted questions help guide them in providing the correct level of detail in their responses. Different stages of development require varying levels of specificity, and it’s our responsibility to direct users accordingly.

  3. Demonstrate their impact.
    Feedback becomes meaningful when a user sees their suggestions being implemented. Show them how their input has influenced the solution. Even small changes provide them with a sense of ownership and motivates them to continue contributing. Rewarding good feedback with visible changes reinforces the value of their participation.

Effectively bridging the gap between a developer’s understanding and the needs of the end user is crucial to creating value-focused software solutions. By understanding and addressing the barriers to feedback, we can create a collaborative environment that leverages user input to maximize ROI and stay focused on the features that deliver the most value.

Let the users do the talking.

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