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Common Mistakes to Avoid when Seeking Product Value

Validating whether a product is valuable is often a challenge for teams and organizations, because they are often in a rush to deliver to market quickly and focused on their efficiency and speed. Here are some common mistakes to avoid when understanding and seeking product value:

  • Assuming something is valuable to a customer just because the customer asked for it. While the customer may think they want something, it does not mean they will use it.
  • Assuming that internal stakeholders know best what customers need. Internal stakeholder and feedback is important, but there is no guarantee that internal stakeholders like management or subject matter experts know what customers need
  • Maximizing output (deliverables) to achieve more value. More output does not equal more value. Various studies show that only a third of ideas are valuable in successful organizations.* Running and validating experiments gives the team better information that will help them progress in a better informed and deliberate manner.
  • Creating new features or fixing all bugs for the sake of it. Your customer may not want new features and will not use them if they find them unhelpful or hard to adapt to over a previous version of a product. They may not know a defect exists in your product. Pushing out new features without understanding how they would satisfy a customer’s needs can bloat your product and be expensive to maintain. 
  • Trying to determine value upfront for an extended period of time. In a complex and uncertain environment this can be misleading and a waste of time! Instead, the team should work toward Product Goals that are in pursuit of a larger aspirational strategic goal. This allows the flexibility for the team to pivot as they learn new information.
  • Ignoring changing customer behavior, where your product is in its lifecycle, and market demands. Passing this information over can lead to the end of your product as your customers find better solutions. Be sure to measure the current and future opportunities of your product and the size of the customer’s satisfaction gap and act on that evidence appropriately. 
  • Adding more people to a team to deliver more value. Organizations sometimes assume that adding more people to a team means that they can deliver faster and thus create more value for their customers. The opposite is often true. Adding more people to a team can slow down progress. Changing team structure comes with learning curves and other costs. And, as mentioned, more output does not mean more value.

*Project headed by Ronny Kohavi:


Unlocking Business Agility with Evidence-Based Management: Satisfy Customers and Improve Organizational Effectiveness (The Professional Scrum Series) by Patricia Kong, Todd Miller, Kurt Bittner, and Ryan Ripley; Addison-Wesley Professional, October 31, 2023. ISBN-13: ‎ 978-0138244576

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The objective of a Scrum Team is to deliver value to customers and stakeholders. Product Value actively drives customer satisfaction, loyalty, brand reputation, and the longevity of a business by providing customers with benefits that satisfy their needs.