The 4 risks you need to tackle before building a product
There are 4 risks you absolutely need to tackle before building any product idea.
If you’re in charge of Product, your role is to identify and address them during the “discovery” phase, before moving on to the “delivery” phase.
Most of them will be straightforward to tackle (especially if you’ve built something similar in the past already), but some of them will require more digging.
1) The value risk: Will my product be providing sufficient value so customers will actually want to use it and pay for it?
This is usually tackled by doing customer interviews and asking people to pay for your product upfront or recommend it to their colleagues/friends. Asking them if they’d be ready to give you some of their time to help you build the product can also be a great way to check if they really care about what you’re building.
2) The usability risk: Will my users/customers figure out how to use my product?
Building a high-fidelity mockup of the product (on Figma for example) and doing usability interviews with your target audience is a great way to check this.
3) The feasibility risk: Is my product technically feasible?
This can be tackled by doing research on the technology you’re working with and developing a quick-and-dirty prototype of what you want to build. Your engineers will usually be good at identifying the features where it is safe to proceed, and those that may require more digging to make sure we can build them. Trust them!
4) The business risk: Will my product integrate well with the other aspects of my business? (Sales, Finance, Marketing, Legal..)
Spending time with all the other departments in your company to understand their point of view and their need is a good way to tackle this. You need to figure out things such as: Will this integrate well with our current sales channel? Are there any legal risks associated with this? Will the margins make sense to build a profitable business? etc..
Those mainly apply to software products. If you’re building a hardware product, those 4 risks should be tackled even more aggressively as mistakes there are harder to correct than on software!
A big thank you to Marty Cagan for inspiring me to write this article. I highly recommend you read his book “Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love” to learn more about those 4 risks and the techniques you can use to tackle them effectively.