Customer Needs

“Businesses want to think in terms of categories. Consumers want us to think in terms of their needs” – Clay Christensen

Businesses unable to identify customer needs and value preferences shifts will be significantly challenged.

The capital cost structures necessary to develop new products and services have significantly reduced because of access to increasingly cheaper and reliable technologies.

The truth is, the only real advantage that businesses have is their understanding of their customers’ needs. It is not about more cowbells!

Many products feature never or rarely get used. Yet organizations spend time, effort, and resources to develop & maintain these features. This happens because businesses view their products as within a category, and then the game of “keeping up with the Joneses” kicks in – where every product in that category tries to keep pace with others.

Instead of focusing on their competitors, some of the best Product Owners invest time to understand their customers’ needs deeply. They:

  • Interview customers
  • Listen in or actively take customer support calls
  • Shadow end-users while they use their products
  • Actively participate in UI/UX studies

There is much more to Product Ownership than just writing user stories. Writing user stories is the least important part of being a Product Owner.

What do you think prevents Product Owners from being true customer advocates?


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