Scrum Master for Sogeti Luxembourg, Emanuele Prestifilippo has 12 years of experience in application development. Based on his many projects and exchanges with clients, he has developed a 5-point approach for effective user feedback.
1. Don’t wait too much time to ask for it
In agile development, short feedback loops are essential to quickly deliver value to your clients. Only by delivering something usable swiftly and regularly you can receive effective feedback from your users and then adapt your product.
When you want feedback, don’t let your users wait too much time. The sooner you collect their impressions and comments, the quicker you can make adjustments in the project, and the result will be a product with better quality, a faster delivery and more money saved.
2. Avoid asking your clients to give feedback on a demo
If you are developing a new product or building new functionalities on an existing one, don't ask your users to provide feedback after a presentation of your product. During a demo, the clients have a passive role and can misunderstand what you are showing them. They could think the product is fantastic, but it’s difficult to say if it really meets their needs.
Instead, allow your users to play with your product, to start using it as soon as you have a usable version, even if it doesn’t include all the functionalities you want to test. In this way, the clients can test the product in real conditions, explore functionalities by themselves and take their time to give you valuable feedback.
3. Don’t be afraid of negative feedback
It happens, and it's not the end of the world. Contrary to what one might think, negative feedback helps you improve your product and learn more about your clients and their needs. Negative comments, just like positive ones, are useful and allow you to adapt the current solution or change direction if you find that adapting your product could be too expensive.
4. Ask for feedback from small groups
Choosing a small but representative group of users helps you collect and analyse feedback more quickly and to better focus on the client's needs.
5. Use interviews
One technique to get quick and effective feedback about your assumptions is to interview your potential clients. In design thinking, interviews are part of the ideation phase and can be done during early concept development as well. Get out of your office and meet the potential users of your product.
If you have never done it, it could sound crazy, but to validate your assumptions there is no better way than to go on the streets, meet and talk to your potential users. I saw a lot of people who were skeptical about user interviews, but after the first one they were impressed with the results and the huge amount of insights received. Be careful to correctly prepare your questions before going on the streets, don't approach users with more than two other colleagues with you, and don’t take more than 10 minutes per interview.
Emanuele Prestifilippo – Scrum Master, Sogeti Luxembourg
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