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New to Product? Here Are 5 Common Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

Whether it's product design, product management, or tech, these are some of the common mistakes I've found people make when they decide to dive head-first into starting their product journey. Following these simple tips while developing your product can save your company money & result in product features that improve the user experience.

Everybody makes mistakes, it is inevitable and part of the learning process. However, lessons that can be learned through others, shouldn’t have to be learned by first-hand experience. Although trial and error is an integral part of the process, it is both possible and advisable to avoid common mistakes that might cause significant loss of time and money.  


Whether it's product design, product management, or tech, here are some of the common mistakes I've found people make when they decide to dive head-first into starting their product journey.


1. Jotting down ideas without thinking of implementation

As a product manager, your role is to ship a reasonably good product in a reasonable amount of time, not a perfect product at some undefined point in the far future. Newbies at product often get hooked on creating that ‘one perfect product’ without considering the coordination of efforts required across multiple departments.

You need to consider the product design process flow, product development, and engineering, specially when it needs to be shipped quickly. 


2. Improper planning of use cases in product management

The product is ultimately being built for a consumer. Developing use cases is vital to understanding the “real world” interactions customers will have when using a product to meet their needs.


You should detail out the use cases by creating a user persona, the persona’s goal, and list the user tasks.


To put it simply, find the ‘user need’ first. Secondly, chalk out the user flow and all the actions that the user might perform at each step. Lastly, detail out what's required to enable said use case, be it a design or tech requirement. 


3. Forgetting to plan for edge-cases

Call it happy flow or happy path, it's the ideal circumstance, the one we're all striving for, where there are no exceptions or error conditions. But reality can be unpredictable and volatile. So, you should be able to step back every now and then and look at what you’re doing.


Always have contingency plans in case something goes wrong.

A well-placed error message with contact support can help more than you’d think when something fails or crashes. Thinking through many scenarios before developing your product can save your company money & result in product features that improve the user experience.


4. Over complicated user flow = Over complicated life

There are two ways of solving a problem, you can either create a detailed flowchart for all users or prioritize the needs of a bigger user segment first, something a lot of product managers are guilty of.


But there are many repercussions of overcomplicating the user flow; it eats up your engineering bandwidth, takes more time to design, ship, and ends up sprouting more edge cases. 

Neglecting one area of user needs can result in more work being required on the entire product as a whole.


5. Failing to think from the user’s point of view

Often, an overlooked failure is not experiencing the product itself. It can help you understand the physical realities and performance of the product. We must always remind ourselves that the product needs to make sense to the user, so exclude any jargon that they might be unfamiliar with. 

Make sure to spend sufficient time interacting with a prototype of your product to understand it. It will give you a clear direction or even guide you about what your customers care about and what matters to them.

 

Any product must strike a balance between aesthetics, performance, and cost. These, along with other factors, are critical to the success of a product. 

When building and designing our Sourcewiz platform, we have to constantly come up with solutions to address different user needs. Be it creating customized product catalogue design or developing multi-format product catalogues in ppt, excel, or pdf, it’s essential to keep the focus on the potential slip areas to build a reliable product.

In the end, it is up to us to learn from our mistakes and start creating an authentic product with a strong business and user experience that triggers a clear response from our end users and leaves a lasting impact on them.


Vikas Garg, Co-founder