Dan Naden

Open the doors to your product’s secrets at Iteration Review

You’ve just released some new features into your product that you think are ‘can’t miss’. These are features that have been highly coveted by some of your most strategic customers.

So how do you get the word out to customers about this new functionality?

E-mail push? You could try this, but who knows if the customer will even open or read the e-mail. Remember: your customer’s inbox is already flooded with his other ‘stuff’. Your ‘what’s new’ e-mail is probably far, far down on his priority list.

Social media? Sure, it’s an easy task to post to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter. Are your customers really monitoring these networks for your new product announcements? Or are they waiting to see their friend’s pictures from vacation? Perhaps they want to read the latest, humorous tweets from Shaquille O’Neal or Justin Timberlake? Your ‘latest and greatest’ tweet won’t make his day.

Home page presence? Go ahead;  add a blurb about your product’s can’t-miss functionality to your home page, but don’t expect many of your customers to read it. Unfortunately, your customers have their own problems to solve, and very little time to browse your home page.

How about doing something completely different?

How about inviting your customers to an iteration review where you share what you’ve just released into the product?

Not familiar with an Iteration Review? First, your team needs to be practicing Agile. Second, you must conclude each iteration with two things:

1. Sprint Review

2. Retrospective

If you are practicing Agile, you probably have iteration or sprint reviews where the team shares, demonstrates what’s new in the product.

This is NOT the time for marketing spin, but a ‘no fluff’ demonstration of what the features can do for your customers. Ideally, there’d also be time for Q and A at the event’s conclusion. If you are a customer attending one of these sessions, don’t be afraid to ask how a particular feature can help solve your company’s problems.

I know what you are thinking. Who has time to attend your sprint review via Skype, Go To Meeting? It’s just another burden in an already jam-packed workday.

Fair point; not all customers will have the time to attend each iteration review. But I can guarantee that you’ll derive much more benefit from attending an iteration review compared to not reading a company’s home page, e-mail or Twitter feed.

You’ll hear about some great features directly from the people that pour their blood, sweat and tears into their creation.

The bottom line: you want your customers using your features to solve their problems. Hold an iteration review and clearly, confidently demonstrate how these new features will help your customers grow, prosper and thrive. Don’t be surprised if they give you a virtual standing ovation. J

Looking for more about Iteration Reviews? This is a good place to start. http://agilesherpa.org/agile_coach/review/iteration_review/

Do you have a marvelous story about something you learned at an Iteration Review? Tell us.

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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