This post is part of the ongoing Startup Edition series.
I’m embarrassed to say this, but I’ve spent a ton of time developing products without speaking to the customer. It seems like a no-brainer. Yet as a creator, I want to immediately rely on my coding skill sets to push products out the door. When I recently spoke to a friend who runs a development shop in Washington, D.C., my horrible mistake became glaringly obvious. He shared with me a simple technique that he uses to keep clients indefinitely: daily standups.
The daily standup is a concept that has become popularized through the Scrum project management style. The meeting is limited to 15 minutes during which time each stake-holder in a project answers the following questions:
- What did you do yesterday?
- What will you do today?
- Are there any impediments in your way?
Every person involved in the project must be at that meeting. In the case of an agency, the client, the developer, project manager, and any other relevant parties are part of the meeting. This prevents later conversations like “wait, why doesn’t this work?” or “this is not what we were looking for!” from occurring.
Within a startup, the daily customer meeting may be a bit excessive, but regular and consistent communication is absolutely critical. How do you know that the product you are building is what the customer wants? How do you know that paying customers are actually satisfied? Communication is critical! Simply put, if you are responsible for managing the success of your startup, you should spend more time communicating with customers.
It will keep the customers happy and it will enable you to build a business, not just a product!