It takes a lot more than sheer luck to create a product that flies off the shelf or the lot. There is an extensive team of developers, engineers, designers, marketers, and managers behind that product. Delivering a great concept from the idea phase to successful sales requires coordination, collaboration, thorough testing, and refining. Product critiques play an integral part in the testing and refining process. Gathering a range of feedback before the final version launches leads to greater product success.
Why Does Your Feedback Matter?
The product critique is an essential stage in product development because it brings together various perspectives to engage with and deliver feedback on a product before it’s released to the public. These sessions are a prime opportunity to catch and fix mistakes, improve features, and even add essential capabilities that will increase the product’s success. Providing your feedback in product-related meetings matters because of your unique perspective.
What to Expect During a Product Critique
Participants of a product critique are expected to engage in an open discussion about the product. When the meeting focuses on solutions and maintains a positive dynamic, the results of the session will be better. A positive dynamic means that participants can be critical of the product while upholding respect for each other and the process.
During a product critique, participants will be asked to provide helpful feedback on the design, scope, and functionality of the product. The meeting should have a general structure to draw out ideas for improvements on the product and highlight the successes.
Each session can look different, depending on the organization. However, in general, the product management team will share resources in advance of the meeting. They might prepare an agenda, assign a facilitator, and follow up with each individual after the meeting to collect more insight. The best meetings have a set structure that allows for flexibility, depending on the discussion.
How to Contribute the Most Value During a Product Critique Meeting
1. Identify Strengths and Weaknesses
An invitation to a product critique workshop means you’re there to provide honest feedback on the product. The product management team wants to hear the strengths and weaknesses of the product. This goes beyond listing what you like and don’t like about the product. The most useful feedback is to provide examples of where the product matches the goals and delivers on the needs of the customer. At the same time, if there are aspects of the product that aren’t working, the team wants to know about it.
2. Focus on User Experience
You should be provided with information on the target market of the product before the critique session. As you observe and test the product, remember to keep this end user in mind and ask the question: Does the design and functionality match the needs of the target user?
There may be a component of the product that is easy for you to use, but will the customer be able to use it with ease? While you’ll be focusing on the user experience, the best products are also tested by the ideal customer, with observations and feedback collected directly from the source.
3.Keep an Open Mind
Whether you’re directly involved in the product development or a stakeholder, it’s best to keep an open mind going into the product critique session. Holding pre-judgements on a product, either positive or negative, can lead you to miss opportunities. Maintaining an open mind also keeps you more receptive to the feedback of other participants, which may highlight strengths and weaknesses you didn’t consider.
The responsibility of gathering all the ideas and feedback points is on the facilitator and host of the session. Unless you are in one of these roles, you’re free to listen to the other participants and openly discuss the ideas mentioned.
4. Be Aware of Your Bias
In addition to keeping an open mind, it’s important for participants to be aware of their bias in any meeting session. Whether you’re discussing priorities for a product or critiquing a prototype, the focus is on delivering value to the customer and creating the best product possible for them, not you. If you’re really close to the product, it can be helpful to put yourself in the shoes of your customer and ask questions that make you think deeply about the product. A great facilitator will also have strategies to help you overcome your bias during the session.
5. Be Ready to Ask Questions
Although you were invited to provide feedback, your questions are also welcome. If anything about the product isn’t clear, don’t be afraid to ask for more details. Your perspective is valued, which is why you were invited to the product critique in the first place.
6. Prepare for the Meeting
Meetings always run better when everyone arrives prepared. In advance of the session, the host or facilitator should circulate an agenda so all stakeholders know the objectives in advance. As a participant, it’s your responsibility to seek out the necessary information and arrive prepared for discussion.
How to Prepare For a Product Critique Meeting
Preparing in advance for a product critique meeting helps you deliver more value to the product team. The steps you’ll need to take to prepare will depend on how involved you are in that product’s management. In general, it’s recommended that participants do the following:
- Analyze the product and the product line
- Learn about the destined market and target customer
- Understand the steps or journey the customers take to get the outcomes they desire
- Identify customer needs
- Get familiar with the competition
- Understand how policy changes may impact their business
You’ve been selected to participate in the product critique for your perspective and insight. Don’t be afraid to share your suggestions and ask questions.
7. Use the Product Roadmap
The results of a product critique may result in changes to the product scope. The product management team will communicate important changes to the relevant stakeholders as well as adjust the product roadmap as needed. Wherever you fit into the product development cycle, staying informed by following the product roadmap will keep you aligned with the product progress.
Plan Your Products with Product Roadmap Management Software
At Gocious, we support companies in their mission to create products customers love. That is why we work with product managers to develop innovative software and tools that help you align your teams and strategically implement production processes. If you want to know more about how Gocious can help your company reach the next level, book a free demo with us.