Most executives hand over the development of technology to a CIO, CTO or partner. But they often don’t know the questions to ask to understand if that delegation is producing valuable fruit.
Here are the 3 top questions executives can ask to find out today if your technology project is doing anything worth a damn.
- When was the last time we saw a demo? If the answer is more than 3 weeks, then it’s too long. Studies have shown that technology projects that wait too long for a first demo, or too long in between demos are doomed to fail. Why is that? Entropy. Technology spends most of its development life cycle not working. The longer you go between demos, the more likely it is that a problem has arisen that is getting more and more expensive to fix.
- Are we talking to users? What are they saying? Technology is built so that people can use it. If you never show the technology to those people, you are building something based on (educated) guesses. No matter how smart the team is, there is no way to suddenly acquire ESP. Get early versions of your product in front of the people who will use it.
- When is the soonest we can get an MVP in front of customers? Sidebar: what’s an MVP? An MVP is a Minimum Viable Product. The idea is that an technology product has core features that matter the most to users. Think: what if Microsoft launched Word with only the most vital features like opening, saving and printing a doc. Do we really need Mail Merge? Your product has that tipping point as well. Get the most valuable features to customers as soon as possible to both start generating revenue and getting feedback on what is important to them. And then maybe you don’t need Mail Merge after all.
With good answers for all 3, you have an idea when and what to market for an MVP launch. If any of the answers have holes, hit the reset button and get the team to correct course. Ask for a demo every 2 weeks. Get in front of users so you know you’re building something they will care about, and get that product to market as soon as you can so you can start iterating and improving it.