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It’s the age-old question of product management and product development: how do you balance customer problems and requests with the features and initiatives that will help bring in new customers and grow your business?
In this week’s Forbes article ‘Making Software Development Fast, Effective & Intelligent,’ author Tom Groenfeldt highlights that “simply pleasing your existing customers can lock you into products that serve past, rather than future needs in the marketplace.” Companies fall into this trap when their product managers spend more time tracking individual bugs and requirements than they do managing the development of critical product capabilities.
Featured in the article is Ultimate Software, an Accept Software customer who has implemented Accept360 for product planning and prioritization. “Developers love to develop,” said Ultimate Vice President of Product Management Patrick Pickren. “If you don’t know why you are doing something, then you are very likely to go off and so what you are passionate about. Accept helps us understand all the way down to one piece of code how this related to a feature we are tracking in Accept, and how that may be related to other drivers helping us to expand our market opportunities to give us a competitive advantage.”
Without the ability to prioritize products and features, companies can easily lose sight of the things that make their products and company successful in the broader market. When customer requests come in, the easy answer is to address the problem and make that customer happy. However, more companies need to follow Ultimate’s example learn when they need to say no to current customer demands focus resources in areas of high strategic importance.