What makes a product perfect? Your answer might depend on the role you play in product development.
If you’re all about quality, you might describe perfection as a product that aces all its test scripts and doesn’t surprise you with bugs once it’s in the field.
If your focus is UX, you might call a product perfect if it has a seamless UI that’s completely intuitive and easy to use.
If you’re a skeptic (or an engineer), you might scoff and say: “Perfect? No such thing.” And you’d be right.
Perfection is as subjective as it is unattainable. But anyone who uses any piece of technology, from software to smart appliances to the connected features in your car, knows that a product doesn’t have to be perfect to be good, even great.
A perfected product isn’t a perfect product, but it:
Meets design requirements
A perfected product works the way it’s supposed to. Assuming your design requirements are based on countless hours of research, your customers should be able to use your product’s features and functions without running into distracting issues.
Is easy to use
Functionality has its limits. A product may work to spec. It may even look amazing. But if it perpetually frustrates or confuses your users, it can hardly be considered a triumph. A perfected product doesn’t stop at functional — it provides an amazing user experience.
Exceeds customer expectations
Companies with perfected products aren’t releasing humdrum updates that their audience could take or leave. But they’ve invested so much time and energy into continuing customer research and testing that their roadmaps align with where their customers are naturally headed. A perfected product release leaves customers saying, “I didn’t know I needed this, but now I can’t live without it.”
Gets positive reviews and increases revenue
There are plenty of solid products that, for one reason or another, don’t sell. But a perfected product has the right product market fit and aligns with customer needs. It gets in front of the people who want it and need it at exactly the right time. And (for the reasons we listed above) it continues to surprise and delight them, earning brand loyalty, more revenue, and market influence.
How Companies Are Building Perfected Products
The truth is there are always going to be some flaws in your product; the highly advanced, constantly evolving nature of both technology and the people using it all but guarantees it.
But in spite of that, perfecting your product — that is, streamlining functionality, providing an amazing user experience, exceeding your customers’ expectations, and fattening your bottom line — is totally within reach. Here are four things the world’s most forward-thinking tech companies are focusing on to perfect their products.
They’re listening to their customers. The most innovative minds in tech know that no instinct or amount of experience beats actually listening to your customers. At every step of the way, they’re consulting customers and refining their roadmap, adding or improving features, and cleaning up design.
They’re embracing continuous development. The world your customers live in is changing constantly. As tech evolution gets faster and faster, many companies have moved from Waterfall development models to Agile and Agile-hybrids that support continuous iteration and delivery. That’s because they know the work is never done — there are always improvements to make, compatibility to test, and features to build.
They’re conducting rigorous experiments. They’re putting actual products in the homes of real customers before release to calibrate and refine performance in live technical environments. They’re not only surfacing bugs they could only find in the homes of audiences, they’re using these experiments to build out use case scenarios.
They’re perfecting their testing processes. Innovative leaders are aware that while defining processes isn’t sexy, it’s a critical step toward improving the efficiency and return on investment from their testing efforts. They’re thinking long-term, making small but concrete steps forward — tracking metrics, documenting processes, setting benchmarks for success, and investing in training — to optimize as they grow. That also includes choosing tools that support their teams’ testing efforts to redirect labor hours where they’ll make the most impact.
The Road to Perfected
What do all four of these things have in common? They all revolve around your customers. Customer insights are the driving force behind better-decision making, from driving your roadmap to focusing your engineering efforts where it counts.
Customer testing is critical to both collecting targeted feedback that generates these insights. But tangibly seeing the returns of the testing process is one of the most difficult performance measures to track. See how seven real companies increased the ROI of their testing efforts by 646% in this report.