As a user, I’m inpatient, unforgiving, and have trouble using/finding features that appear so simple to product managers. If I can’t find what I want quickly and easily you’ve lost me. This poses a variety of challenges for product managers depending upon what stage you’re at:
New product: Who are my early adopters and am I solving a salient problem? How can I communicate this effectively to users? Don’t try to solve ten different problems, but solve one really well. This misconception prevents a lot of new startups from even getting traction
Product with some traction beginning to scale features: At this stage its important to tread the balance between user retention/feature requests while maintaining and emphasizing core functionality. It’s great when users love your product and want it to have more bells and whistles, but this can be a dangerous game. Feature creep can cause new users to become overwhelmed and confused sending them down the old been there, done that and it sucks road. Build a product that does something extraordinarily well for the masses, not the minority.
A killer, well-established product: Just because you’ve built an awesome product that people love doesn’t mean you’re out the woods yet. Think about all the sites that have been created from craigslist – goodcrush, tutorspree, sittercity just to name a few. At this point, I claim the greatest challenge is determining where you’re going to double down. Do this by figuring out which features keep users coming back and focus on those.
Regardless of where you are in the life-cycle of a product the same theme holds true: Its better to be the best at one or a few things than to be good at everything.