It is difficult to make a product decision. We can spend weeks or months weighing up all the pros and cons. We recently had to make a product decision for our new Ready-To-Use Workshops, so we thought we’d share our story as inspiration.
The product decision context
Here’s the context for our decision. We were launching a new Product, a Ready-To-Use Workshop. Our user research told us that a key feature for the product would be a template for an online whiteboard. We knew Miro and Mural are both popular tools, and we’ve used both fairly interchangeably in our time as coaches. They were candidates to create the template in. So we needed to pick.
Any product decision is better than no decision
The worst decision is not making a decision. Until we have picked a tool for the template, we couldn’t create the template. That also meant we couldn’t finish the facilitator guide, we couldn’t test out the game we had designed, we couldn’t take screenshots of the template for marketing. Although it’s tempting to do lots of research before making a decision, we think it’s best to make a tentative decision that can be changed if new information comes to light.
Using cost as the deciding factor
We experiment a lot, and often that experimentation involves trying out new tools. If every time you try out a new tool you have to pay for a subscription, costs can add up pretty quickly. So our default approach when experimenting if to understand what the cheapest way to do an experiment is. The benefit of this is that if the experiment doesn’t work it hasn’t cost you much, and you will be less attached to it as a result. No sunk cost fallacy. So for Miro vs Mural we looked first at cost. Although both have a free tier. Only Mural lets you share templates with the free tier.
Product decision made, are we done?
That was easy. We chose Mural. We created the template and launched the product. Done… Well not actually. The most important part of any decision is monitoring it once you release the product for feedback on if it was the right decision or not. This is the step a lot of Product teams forget.
A quick experiment
One of the first piece of feedback we got, was someone asking for a Miro template. We’d expected that so we didn’t immediately take this as input that we’d made the wrong decision. But over the next 2 weeks we got the feedback from multiple sources. We decided to do a quick experiment to validate what we were learning. We did a Linkedin poll 🙂 Here’s what we discovered.
It turns out Miro is 4 to 5 times more popular than Mural. This was enough evidence for us to invest in adding a Miro template as well.
We assumed it would be easy to move the template across from Mural to Miro. Guess what, it wasn’t. We ended up almost recreating it all over again. We learned lots around how the two tools compare by doing this. And we definitely have a preference as template designers. But that’s for a future post!
Revisiting the product decision
Now we offer both templates with our product. Continuing to support both tools is definitely going to have an impact on how we design and create templates in future. There is a cost involved in this decision as we needed to buy a Miro license, and there is additional effort in creating both templates. This then becomes something we need to monitor over time. We can collect get data from users who buy the Product about which template they use, and assess if makes sense to continue with this decision to support both.
Summarising the product decision process
This is a fairly simple decision but we thought it was quite good to highlight the steps of a product/feature decision process. Here are the steps we followed:
- Understand the options
- Make a first decision (it almost doesn’t matter what you decide because you can always changed it)
- Monitor for signals that it was a good decision
- When there is enough data to suggest the decision was wrong, change the decision.
- Monitor for signals that it remains a good decision
When you look at it like this, you realise making the decision is the least important part of the process, it’s how you monitor what happens as a result and how you respond that makes all the difference!