Defining (and keeping) your product’s new year’s resolutions

Ah, the festive season. That time of year when we (hopefully) get to sit back, relax, and enjoy a little downtime from the busy year behind us.

It’s often a time for reflection and no doubt comes with the eventual question – “what are your new year’s resolutions?”. We’ll then fire off a list of things we want to do but know we probably won’t. They’re most likely the same ones we said we’d press on with last January.

We might give up booze for a month and then be straight back on the sauce in February. That gym membership will probably get a couple of weeks of hardcore use but will then turn into a very expensive way to feel guilty about not doing exercise. We’ll still only be able to say “yes”, “no” and “a ham sandwich, please” in that language we said we’d learn.

Resolutions for business

The problem with personal resolutions is that they’re too easy to fail at. We rarely set resolutions that are sensible and give ourselves plenty of opportunities to not follow through.

So, why not use the opportunity to set some business resolutions for your product that you know you can keep?
Starting the new year with a new set of business goals is common. We often see a big push from people in January to get that new project off the ground or finally get an external team in to help (get in touch if that’s the case, by the way 😁).

Setting these goals is all about making sure they’re achievable or they’re going to get as dusty as that gym pass is.
Here are a few pointers and suggestions to be thinking about in between eating mince pies and drinking yet another glass of mulled wine over the Christmas break.

Speaking to your users

You may be doing lots of this already but we’re often surprised by how many people aren’t. An achievable goal is doing more of this, and you’ll benefit hugely from it.

It can be as simple as getting your team to do more research, or figuring out how you’d bring in someone to do this for you.
Starting small with a handful of conversations is usually easy to achieve and also gives you time to practice this if it’s not something you’ve done a lot of before.

You’ll find the results go from giving you that happy feeling you get from a great conversation to despair when results aren’t as positive as you’d have hoped. It’s important to note that both of these are successful outcomes. The latter is actually more important.

Get the roadmap in shape

There’s always lots to do but are you in total control over what’s important to do right now and what’s not? Any successful product team needs to be and needs to have a plan that sits across strategy, design, and engineering.

There are numerous ways of doing this and many have their own techniques but we’ve written and spoken about a few options in the past. Maybe you could try and prioritize your backlogs either with the priority spade or through weighting and rating it. Ultimately, it’s only through trying out different methods that you will find what works best for you.

Planning your team

If you know what you need to do then you’ll then be able to review your team and see where the gaps lie.
Do you have an up-to-date org chart and are your hiring needs for the next year documented somewhere? If not, then this is a quick thing to put together.
If there are big gaps in place then think about how these are going to be filled. Will you need more team members to join or is it time for some contractors of an agency (again, we’re here if you need us 😄)?

Review your marketing plan

All businesses need to market themselves in some way. Is it time for a shake-up of what you’re doing or time to double down and boost your marketing plan?

How about reviewing a few things and deciding what you can and can’t commit to. Is it posting an article once or twice per month? Monitoring your audience better? Perhaps it’s introducing more video content or thinking about smarter ways to interact with the people viewing your content.

Whatever you want to improve, just remember that everyone goes through this, and every good plan needs to be reviewed periodically in order to stay relevant.

Wrapping it all up

To follow your new year’s product resolution remember to not bite off more than you can chew. Set sensible resolutions but, most importantly, make sure you do set some and build a plan to act on them.

Wishing you a very merry Christmas from all of us at Lighthouse!