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All product development teams have one thing in common: the desire to just get started. Especially when coupled with pressure from investors and management, it’s very tempting to shortcut design inputs and let the development teams start on something.

All product development teams have one thing in common: the desire to just get started. Especially when coupled with pressure from investors and management, it’s very tempting to shortcut design inputs and let the development teams start on something.

It’s not hard to imagine how this leads to problems later. Typically, when teams are rushed, issues that could have been identified early are discovered later in the process, when design and engineering changes are extraordinarily costly.

One of the most important starting exercises for any development effort is to identify and create a list of user needs. These documents provide important insights into product requirements and help to identify potential problems early on.

It’s a good idea to start with marketing requirements and these key documents:

  • List of actors and roles.
  • Workflow analysis.
  • Journey map.

Together, these documents provide a clear framework for analysis and a roadmap that enforces discipline in the process. If done correctly, the benefits include:

  • Making sure user needs are properly represented in product requirements.
  • Identifying gaps in the marketing requirements document.
  • Providing a foundation for user experience (UX) designers.

Imagine you have been asked to develop a handheld diagnostic device that will be used by surgeons in the operating room. The company’s engineering team will probably already have made assumptions about how the product will be used. The company may have also hired a design firm to create product renderings. Jumping the gun on both of these activities tends to integrate early assumptions and may lead a team off course.

Before development begins, it is important to take a step back and reevaluate all of these assumptions. User needs should come from the user — through site visits, focus groups, voice-of-customer surveys, customer interviews, user studies and recorded observations.

Continue reading at Medical Design & Outsourcing

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2019-11-19 Capture User Needs and Product Requirements to Build Better Products Capture User Needs and Product Requirements to Build Better Products

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