3 Essentials for Safeguarding Against Sloppy Product Execution

Nobody sets out to do poor work. Procedures are how you avoid mistakes you can't afford.

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By Aaron Price

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With the barrier to entry so low, now is an amazing time to be a technologist. But with the gates to the tech world flung open wide, how do you make a great product that stands out from the herd? Speaking at the 2017 Propelify Innovation Festival, Jack Hanlon -- Jet.com's VP of Analytics & Insight -- offered innovators three key opportunities to avoid sloppy product execution.

1. Eat your own dog food.

The mandate to use your own product is a given. But are you actually following through on this Microsoft maxim? Hanlon recommends using your own product every week, including the aspects that don't appeal to you directly. Encourage your friends to use your product, too. "Have them deliver honest feedback about what works and what doesn't," Hanlon says.

Related: 4 Steps to Improve Quality at Your Business

2. Do it manually.

Have you created a process that deserves to be automated? Developments in artificial intelligence and machine learning can streamline tasks for entrepreneurs, but Hanlon warns against scaling before solving. Instead of automating processes by default, go at them first by hand first. It will be easier to see if you're getting the results you want. Here are a few places to start:

  • Your welcome email. Ask several people in your company to draft the welcome email a customer receives after making his or her first purchase. Which version actually was read? Generated a consumer response? Learn what works, then automate.
  • Be the chatbot. Take on the experience of interacting with users as the chatbot, and you'll get a feel for how your site's customer service aspects truly need to function. Does your chatbot delight customers? If not, it's time to tweak.
  • Curate merchandise solutions. Suggest additional merch to purchase, based on your own logic and tastes. If someone bought a TV, what's the next logical item to add? Rely on your own logic -- not a program's -- to help your customers.

Related: Bot or Person? The Customer Automation Conundrum.

3. 'Value isn't what you do. Value is what people receive.'

This Hanlon's No. 1 rule for creating an exceptional product or service. Users don't care how hard it was to make something work. They care whether it works, and they want it to work well.

"All too many times, we are too excited about a solution and looking for a problem to deploy it on," Hanlon says. Focus on the consumer's problems, not your own excitement around building a new product. Your users will be delighted with the end result.

Related: Successful People Always Chase the Impossible -- Here's Why

Watch highlights of Jack's talk at the 2017 Propelify Innovation Festival:

Follow us on Twitter @LetsPropel to stay up to date with our innovation community.

Want to hear the rest of Jack Hanlon's ideas for creating a successful data product? Sign up for access at Propelify.com.

Aaron Price

Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

Founder, Propelify.com / NJ Tech Meetup

Aaron is the founder of Propelify, built to empower innovators. The Propelify Innovation Festival unites 10,000 innovators with talks, exhibitors, drones, virtual reality, investors, music and more. Aaron is founder of the NJ Tech Meetup, NJ's largest technology & entrepreneurial community.

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