Free Product Managers is something we mentioned in the previous post – “Working closely with customers” – this itself is what should not get the better of a product company.
Customers will always want something specific for themselves and will request customization, but where do you draw the line? What begins to happen is the following especially in the early-months of a product company:
a. Customers keep giving feedback, and sometimes since they are a few select (early one’s). Hence you go back and hack up something for them whenever a request comes-in.
b. No Product Manager internally in the company might not be defined as a role because you might be focusing heavily on keeping the customers happy and wish to do anything to keep them with you.
c. You end up building multiple features being used by only 1 particular client being scared he might leave you.
We made a lot of these mistakes; I was at the center of many! But Shivku, Ishwar & Sid were quick to point out and we then re-focused.
Selling only Menhirs and no customization from Obelix below is the perfect image 🙂
Things to do when falling in such a place where you ask yourselves, are we a Services company or a Product company?
1. Ask yourself will this feature addition be needed by all companies across verticals? Will the feature add enough value to sell more, was it in the pipeline before? Will the Cab companies features be used by the E-Commerce companies? Will the Doctors pain point be solving pain points for all the Healthcare companies?
2. Will this set of customers demanding for this feature leave you – is it a deal breaker?
3. How many are asking for it and why? Is there no workaround solution within the existing product?
Keep asking yourselves these questions and have someone focus on screening feature requests after a certain point and chasm.
We now have heavy product focus, and Shivku/Karthik are helping put those things in place. Helps shield the Tech team to build the product, stability, rather than just hacking features based on customer requests.
That being said, when 10-20 customers come back and ask us for a particular feature, you can’t say No to the market completely, so we do think of a long term route and implement it quickly.