Taking a People-Driven Approach to Product Development

Taking a People-Driven Approach to Product Development

Prior to co-founding WorkTrip, Nathan Aaron spent the last 20 years supporting enterprise customers and their use of software. He believes that any successful software product starts with a people-driven development process. He is referring to both the people using the product and the people building it.

“At the very basic level, we are focused on making our customers’ lives and jobs easier,” explained Nathan. “In order to do that, our team really needs to understand our customers, the pains they are experiencing and how our product can help.”

Fortunately for Nathan, his co-founder had been an event planner, giving WorkTrip’s product team a leg up on understanding their target audience.

With the one-year launch anniversary of WorkTrip approaching, it’s easy to see the impact this approach has had on the product’s development and success. In a number of recent interviews, customers raved about how WorkTrip makes their jobs and lives easier. They also talked about how much they appreciated the opportunity to actively participate in the evolution of the product, and how impressed they were with the ongoing updates.

That feedback has helped Nathan’s team better understand and appreciate the impact they are making.

“Ask any developer out there what they like about their job. They will almost always say they like being part of something that is solving a problem. The team truly loves building something people want to use and want to provide input on,” said Nathan.

Realistically, Nathan and his team understand that customer feedback can’t always be positive, and they can’t always deliver on everything the customer asks for. According to Nathan, responding to a customer complaint or request may require skills that resemble detective or discovery work.

“When a support issue comes up, that is a point at which our relationship with that customer could change. We have to take the time to listen to what they are saying, and process what they are really trying to tell us. Filtering that out has a lot to do with their tone,” said Nathan. “If a customer is frustrated, it is our job to help both of us move beyond that emotion and get to the real root of the problem.”

They rely on those same skills to help distinguish between customer wants and needs, to prioritize new features and communicate the status of product developments with customers.

“At the end of the day, we want our customers to know that the features they are asking for are more than just line items in a product development plan,” said Nathan. “We want them to feel like they are truly a part of this very collaborative product development effort. That is simply how we do things here at WorkTrip.”

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