Engineers and product people tend to think about issues as frequency distributions. How many users does this impact? How severe is it? But this misses one inescapable truth from a user’s perspective: a little bit broken is still broken.
I was staying at a hotel recently that highlights the point.
The shower worked but would occilate between lukewarm, cold, and burning hot. I could still bathe by hiding from the shower head every 3 seconds. Needless to say, it was frustrating and uncomfortable.
I could imagine this problem being triaged by a product team.
“A user is reporting a temperature issue with the shower.”
“Well, how many users have this problem?”
“How bad is it?”
“There is a workaround and they can still bathe.”
“We’ll come back to it.”
The simple solution to avoiding these kinds of low-fidelity histogram-based prioritization is to use the product. Within 1 minute of actually trying to use it for themselves, this figurative product team would put this issue directly at the top of the list.
- Another reason to fix seemingly superficial issues is that people judge the quality of a product by whatever is visible
- Being obsessed with what you are building is a competitive advantage
- Permission to build new products is earned