Kaizen is the philosophy of consistent improvement. Internet businesses searching for product industry fit think they can follow this philosophy simply by shipping code.

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But shipping password doesn’t mean that you’re make any far-reaching product improvements. Similarly you have the right to make undeniable enhancements to components of her product and also get no an answer or appreciation because that it. It all comes under to the kind of enhancements you’re making.

What is product improvement?

Product development is the process of making meaningful product changes that result in brand-new customers or increased benefits establish by existing customers. The 2 most well-known ways to do product improvements are to include new product functions or enhance existing ones.

Adding brand-new features

New functions are risky. You need to be really confident they will be valued.

Adding brand-new features broadens the scope of the existing product, often making a huge marketing splash, obtaining a version bump, and also resulting in some press releases. Regularly the fanfare attracts brand-new customers and brand-new use cases for the product. Typically, brand-new features space the only enhancements that outsiders (i.e. Non-customers) will ever hear about.

New functions are risky. You have to be an extremely confident they will be valued, together they’re prefer children; you need to love them and support lock no issue what.

Ask her customers “Would you favor a ?” and also they’ll answer yes. It’s a one-way “something or nothing” offer. They haven’t had actually to make a trade-off between competing priorities. This leader to customers saying they want stuff that they don’t yes, really want.

Asking her customers “Would you quite that us made the product much faster, or that us added more labelling features?” and you’ll acquire a different answer. Everyone worths speed.

Improving currently features

You have the right to improve an existing function in three different ways: you deserve to make it far better (deliberate improvement), girlfriend can readjust it therefore customers use it more often (frequency improvement), or girlfriend can change it so an ext people can use the (adoption improvement).


Not all renovations will be appreciated by all users

1. Intentional improvements

Make deliberate enhancements when you recognize why customers use an existing feature and also what they appreciate about it. A deliberate improvement seeks just to make the feature much better in ways that will certainly be appreciated by the existing users.

Use when: there is a function that all your customers use and like, and also you see possibility to add far-reaching value to it.

2. Frequency improvements

These are renovations you make to acquire a customer to usage the feature much more often. Adding an ext items come an activity feed, or an ext options to a find tool method that people read it an ext often, or use it for much more tasks each day. This type of improvement can turn a once-a-week attribute into an daily feature.

Use when: over there is a feature that the bulk of her customers use infrequently, and also you think they would benefit from utilizing it more.

3. Fostering improvements

Adoption renovations target customers who don’t use a feature. For example, if you have actually a calendar function that only half of her user base is using, an adoption improvement aims to win over the remainder. By adding ICS paper import or a Google Calendar connection, friend don’t enhance it for every users…but you do it much more likely that the non-consumers will now embrace it. When you hear phrases favor “I’ll usage this as shortly I can...”, climate an fostering improvement could help.

Use when: over there is crucial feature the a an excellent chunk of her users have yet to adopt, and you see some evident integrations or alters that will make it easier for them to gain on board.

I write about the various ways you can improve your application to make a point. No all enhancements will be evaluate by all users, and also it’s crucial to know where the avenues for real improvements are within your product.

Product improvement examples in ~ moment-g.com

To do these species of product enhancements even an ext concrete, stop talk about what we’ve boosted in moment-g.com over the years and also why.

1. New message types

Awhile back, moment-g.com’s message layout was a pop-up to begin a conversation.


There room times once that doesn’t cut it, for example, if you:

Want to send a message, not begin a conversation.Don’t want to interrupt her user.Want to send a rich post with images, etc.

The impact of this was that not all of our customers were utilizing in-app messaging, and also those that were, weren’t using it for everything. We added notifications (Growl-style pop-ups displayed above) and announcements (large pop-ups without reply) to address this. This is an instance of an fostering improvement.

2. Brand-new results view

With every these new messages gift sent, we want to give our customers an easy means to check out how reliable each article is in ~ driving replies or click throughs. This caused a re-design that our article results view, to placed this details visible anywhere a blog post is. This is an example of a intended improvement.


3. New filtering

Filtering is exactly how our customers discover who is using their product and also how. Our previous filter didn’t range for complicated queries or for huge amounts the data. In addition, there were much too plenty of clicks involved in simple, regular queries. To solve this us re-designed and also re-positioned filter as presented below. Most common queries are lot quicker, and more facility ones room far much easier to configure. This is an instance of a frequency improvement.


4. User notes

Large teams with huge user bases require some method to share client insights the come the end of calls, customer advancement meetings, meet-ups and also other offline activities. Tagging individuals is an excellent for share one discrete piece of knowledge (e.g. “wants Android App”. But for telling a story through context, notes are far better. This is an example of a brand-new feature.


Continuous product improvement

In their early on years startups have advantages over the incumbents. They deserve to move quicker and also adapt faster, without as much technical debt, heritage features, compatibility issues, or large value client restricting your movement. Frequently this speed and also agility can reason start-ups to pivot favor headless chickens, rather than focusing on improving their product in systematic ways. To important adhere to Kaizen, product supervisors need to balance 2 goals: firstly, find improvements the will advantage the business and also its customers, and secondly, ensure the these renovations don’t gain lost ~ above a whiteboard somewhere and also actually do it out the door.

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Because if there’s one thing that’s ultimately true for startups, it’s this: “If you’re no shipping, you’re dead.” just make sure what you delivery brings you brand-new customers or deeper appreciation of your existing ones.


We’ve learned countless lessons from year of making challenging product decisions. Gain actionable advice on just how to ship a product civilization want