April 17

Product Growth Pitfalls

There is a never-ending supply of stories about products and businesses that experienced phenomenal growth. It seems so easy! If you dig a little deeper though, there are cautionary tales about the potential downside to growth. Here are some things you should consider in order to avoid the inevitable pitfalls that can come with explosive growth.

Why refusing to discuss failure erodes a culture of growth. “Have you ever sat in a meeting where a project was described as a success, yet all the details of failure that led to that success were left out? Alternatively, have you ever watched while data was cherry-picked to make things seem rosier than they actually are?” If so, you have witnessed success theater. Alex Birkett explains that success theater can harm your growth efforts and describes how honestly confronting failure can help your growth efforts.

(via @iamalexbirkett)

Top 10 reasons startups fail after their first growth spurt. If you’re experiencing your first major growth spurt in your product or business, you’re bound to make some mistakes. Though some mistakes are unavoidable, it’s helpful to learn from others that have gone through similar situations to make sure you avoid the mistakes you can and learn from the others you can’t escape. Verne Harnish identifies 10 of the most common growth mistakes that you can avoid.

(via @ScaleUpWithGI)

Why startups need to focus more on the product and less on services. If you want to deliver a product, your focus should be on how to improve the product to help multiple customers solve their problems. When you’re first introducing your product and you need to land those first few customers, there is a strong temptation to do anything necessary to sign those first few customers and respond to every customer request; Susmitha Burra explains at some point you have to stop agreeing to every customer request, otherwise you’re well on your way to running a service business.

(via @susmithaburra)

Growth isn’t everything: 7 Lessons learned from 5 failed companies. It’s great to grow your product and business, but it’s important to remember that “growth alone isn’t enough to support and sustain a company if the right conditions aren’t met.” Sujan Patel explores five failed companies and the mistakes they made while trying to grow at a rapid pace. Sujan also describes some frameworks that will help prevent you from falling into the same traps.

(via @sujanpatel)

Seven reasons why MVPs go wrong and how to address failure.  Establishing an MVP to learn what your customers want is often the first step in growing a successful product. If you’re not careful when developing your MVP you may set yourself up for disappointment. Anastasia Yaskevich describes seven reasons why your MVP could go wrong and suggests actions you can take to make sure your MVP tells you what you need to know to grow your product.

(via @Product_Craft)

Kent J McDonald

About the author

Kent J McDonald writes about and practices software product management. He has product development experience in a variety of industries including financial services, health insurance, nonprofit, and automotive. Kent practices his craft with a variety of product teams and provides just in time resources for product people at KBP.media and Product Collective. When not writing or product managing, Kent is his family’s #ubersherpa, listens to jazz and podcasts (but not necessarily podcasts about jazz), and collects national parks.


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