Is the agile concept of “fail fast, fail often” being used to make launching bad products acceptable in the tech sector? It’s a shame if the term becomes an excuse for poor thinking, limited analysis and shoddy product design. Some digital and tech solutions are launching that are not fit for purpose, do not solve problems for target users, and deliver a bad user experience. When these products fail, it’s sometimes justified as being down to a “fail fast” approach.
Badge Of Honour?
It’s almost as if failing fast has become a badge of honour in the tech sector. But is it good for business or the individuals involved? Early stage User Research, particularly User Testing can help to massively improve the user fit of websites, apps and software before they are let loose on real customers.
Personally, I’d prefer to launch something that is as successful as possible, even when we are talking about a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). I’d prefer to learn as much as possible about improving and refining my product pre-release, when only a very small number of users are involved in testing. This reduces the risks of learning hard lessons post-launch – when any issues or short-falls are experienced by thousands of users and reflect badly on my brand.
By undertaking expertly designed User Testing with as few as 5 well selected, representative users you can discover what’s working well, what isn’t and why with your designs or prototype. You’ll also learn where to make improvements that will optimise the user experience, increase user satisfaction and generate higher returns.
Under the right circumstances, an ‘MVP’ can make complete sense. We followed the principals when we launched Userfy; quickly taking our services and value proposition to market with real clients and learning fast how to improve and refine what we do. But for a digital solution that could be used by potentially thousands of users, it’s better to give what you release every chance to succeed and to stack the cards in your favour as much as possible. User Research, and particularly User Testing can massively help with this.
Undertaking User Testing to optimise and align your solution pre-launch can be a lot less traumatic than trying to work out what is going wrong after your product has been released. It’s also far less expensive to refine a design early than to make changes to a fully developed product post-build.
Shipping products early to learn from users can be a valuable approach, but investing in User Testing beforehand can mean you ship a better product and have less to learn the hard way.