Watch out for a false sense of progress

Because the drawing board never tells you: "THIS SUCKS!"

New experiment: A shorty. Reading time: ±2 minutes.

When my team (Just in Case) was rushing towards my MVP launch, we had no eye for pushback. We were so focused on launching, we did not actively seek out feedback anymore.

Those weeks felt really productive. But were they? As reaching out for feedback takes effort, it's very tempting to postpone it.

We rush to that deadline to get feedback only when we are done. But that might be too late. And you are never done anyway.

The opposite of progress is pushback

Change happens where the pushback is lowest. So when you experience no pushback, you might see that as that you are changing something.

However, is the lack of pushback due to the lack of feedback or due quality progress? If you are not actively seeking feedback, you can develop a false sense of progress. Ask yourself: Are you making actual progress or just not actively seeking feedback?

Have something concrete to show

Feedback is given on things. The best feedback comes when you have something concrete to show.

That can be a written page, a sketched mockup, a landing page, a clickable prototype, a pitch deck, you name it.

Something easy to respond to, that a customer or stakeholder can engage with it and react to, which you can observe.

People tend not to disagree with vagueness or things they don't understand. An incoherent story can result in a "yeah sure" or "meh" and kill the conversation. If you pitch your vague idea to a customer, you might not get valuable data.

Go extreme first

Sometimes you got two ideas, one mild and one extreme concept. When I worked at an online marketplace (Werkspot), my boss was keen on running experiments.

He always said to go with the extreme concept first. It elicits the most reactions and it's easier to temper it down than to go up in intensity. Always stuck with me.

Jeroen's take

Where does this come from? Well, a week ago, in my research project, I felt I was on top of things. Where I, in fact, based on the feedback I got, I was not.

I didn't show enough concrete things that elicited feedback, making me miss valuable signals that would help me to be more aware of my position in the process. I was not iterating.

The drawing board never tells you: THIS SUCKS!

That's why some people (hey there, designer, what's it like in New York City?) tend to flock around it. And I did too. Lessons learned. Show concrete stuff earlier.

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