Thursday, February 24, 2022

User survey in a startup


When researching users is required, many products and startups go to do surveys, and some even conduct focus groups. Conducting surveys may seem like a more effective way than conducting interviews, but at the start it is not a good way to do it.


1. Surveys assume that we know the right questions to ask.


How do we make a survey that covers all the right questions if we don't know them ourselves yet? For example, during user interviews, we may ask clarifying questions and explore areas that were beyond our initial understanding. An interview is about exploring what we don't know.


2. Polls suggest that we still know the right answers.


In a survey, we need to not only ask the right questions, but also provide the right answers. How many times have you answered [Other] in surveys? The best answers and insights come from asking open-ended questions.


3. We don't see people during surveys.


Body language, facial expressions, expression of emotions are the same full-fledged signals for Problem / Solution Fit as answers to open questions.


4. Focus groups are generally utter nonsense.


The problem with focus groups is that they reflect groupthink, which is of no use at all for most products.


5. Surveys are quite effective for testing what we have already learned in the interview.


An interview is a qualitative study that is effective for finding signals to confirm or disprove hypotheses with a small sample size.


A survey is a quantitative study. Once we have verified our hypotheses through interviews, we can use what we learned to design a survey and quantify those findings. The purpose of the survey will no longer be to learn something new, but to show the scalability or statistical significance of the results.

Lean Software Development for startups

Lean or lean software development is an agile methodology based on the concept of lean manufacturing. Among the principles of the methodology is the exclusion of losses (these include everything that does not add value to the consumer - excessive functionality, pauses in the development process, fuzzy requirements, etc.); emphasis on learning (assuming short development cycles, early testing), fact-based decision making, team motivation.


As you can see, even if it seems to you that you are working “without problems” - without any methodologies and other things there - in fact, even this is written in theory :) Most likely, you are working according to the Code-and-Fix model and, perhaps, already very soon you will face all its shortcomings. To avoid them, it is important to analyze it before starting work on the product and, together with the team, decide which phases the development will go through. The best option is chosen based on whether you have already formed specific requirements for your product or plan to “improve” it during work; what is your budget and how cross-functional the team is; how long the project is in terms of execution time and how things are with funding.


There is no perfect model and no perfect methodology, but it is up to you to choose one that will allow you to build your work as efficiently as possible and eventually bring the product to market.

User survey in a startup

When researching users is required, many products and startups go to do surveys, and some even conduct focus groups. Conducting surveys may ...