What’s more important — getting the product to market or building ways to collect about how the product is used once it’s released?
Well obviously you have to ship. There’s no customer feedback without customers so you have to get the product out there. Doing that is the most important thing, right?
Yes and no. Too often with small product teams they get too focused on the task of getting the product out without thinking through exactly how they are going to collect that usage data and feedback. Too often I’ve come into product teams, as a consultant or new executive, where the focus has been so tight on features that the team hasn’t put any consideration into how they are going to collect and organize the data coming back from their application. “We meant to do that later” or “we thought we’d add that in version two” are the common excuses.
Too often I’ve seen this from teams who are either entering a new market or launching a new application. The schedule for this first version is so tight and they are so aggressively trying to get it out the door that putting in the hooks for metering and monitoring get lost. When your first version hasn’t shipped yet it’s easy to forget that the customer feedback is going to drive the next version, and the next one and so on.
Every application, no matter whether it’s a web or mobile app, needs a solid way of collecting user behavior. It doesn’t have to comprehensive. In fact just collecting the first round of data may enlighten you to new areas that need to be metered. The important thing is realizing that collecting that behavior data is as important a product feature as anything else.
Don’t let your app ship without it.