Product Review: 8 Tips for Success

November 17, 2021

Chose Tickets to Showcase

An organization may be chasing underlying technologies or adopting the latest trend of serverless stack, but chances are that isn't the most engaging content for a product review. Favor showcasing tangible tickets over intangible. Chose features, bugfixes, etc. that can facilitate a two-side conversation. Product reviews should be a discussion. Design them with a structure built around tickets that are discussable. Promote collaboration over ostracization.

Invite Everyone

Well, you might not be able to invite everyone, but cast a broad net to all willing stakeholders. This could be the entire company, if they are users of the system.

Facilitate a Collaboration

Be mindful of holding the space. Your goal is to facilitate meaningful and production conversation between engineers and stakeholders. Product reviews shouldn't be overall formal. People should act authentically and ask questions. But they should be structured and respectful of everyone's time. Table conversations that go over time.

Record

Product reviews take time to digested. They may need to be analyzed or references at a later time. Unless there is a reason not to, press the record button. This will help to make informed decisions moving forward and make it easier to reach out to clarify open questions.

Outline

Give a brief introduction and outline the proceedings. A simple "who are we", "why we are here", and "what to expect" should suffice. Let the audience know what to expect and how they can engage. Make sure to get to the point though quickly. Afterall, we here to show case features and get feedback.

Recap

It's important to establish a feedback loop for suggestions provided in the previous review. One idea is to provide a synopsis of corrective actions made from the last product review during the start of the current product review. This helps establish that suggestions are taken seriously and lets stakeholders know their feedback matters.

Let them Shine

Empower engineers by letting them showcase their work and take ownership. Advise them to avoid unnecessary technical jargon that won't be understood by stakeholders. Often stakeholders have their own jargon, albeit not technical, as they are the subject matter experts. Allow stakeholders the opportunity to educate and advance engineers understanding of the industry.

Review

Give it a little while and then watch the recording. Take notes. Follow up with individuals to clarify concerns. Use the information provided to help your team and software improve.