By: Carol Vercellino, CEO & Co-Founder

In our last video, you learned that an End-User Needs Assessment is the process of evaluating the needs of the people who will be using your software or app.

An end-user needs assessment typically has three phases: the preparation phase, the investigation phase, and the decision phase.

In this video, we’re going to show you how to conduct the preparation phase.

 

Step 1: Choose your stakeholders

In the preparation phase, your goal is to choose your stakeholders, understand your customer’s problems, identify the decision criteria, and gather the information needed for your project.

So, to begin, who are your stakeholders?

Your stakeholders are the people who will be impacted by your product. Who might stand to gain or lose from your product’s success or failure? Who could you engage that might have a unique perspective on the problem your product solves and the potential solutions?

 

Of course, your end-users fall under this category. But, while all end users could be stakeholders, all stakeholders aren’t end-users. Here are a few examples of potential stakeholders:

 

  • People funding the product development
  • Business managers and architects
  • Data architects and database administrators
  • Your development team
  • The product owner
  • The project manager
  • Account and sales manager
  • Your direct and indirect users

 

Once you’ve established who your stakeholders are, you can then move on to identifying your customer’s problems. 

Step 2: Understand your customer’s problems

 

Gather your stakeholders together and list on a whiteboard all the potential problems your end-user might have in relation to your product. 

Consider solutions that are not as obvious. Are there technical problems? Organizational problems? Problems you can uncover by observing the end-user in their environment?

You can conduct market research, send out surveys, create customer personas, and gather customer feedback to identify those pain points.

Of course, it’s not always possible to solve every problem your end-user has, especially in the first iteration of your product. So, after you’ve made your list, you’ll want to identify your decision criteria to narrow that list down when it comes to product development.

Step 3: Identify the decision criteria

Your decision criteria are the factors that will impact your final decisions. For example, are there budget limitations? Time constraints? Current technology that needs to be updated or developed first? Or systems or personnel that may be impacted?

Make a list of all these factors so you can decide what problems your product will specialize in solving and which features will be developed first. 

Step 4: Gather all necessary information

The final step in phase 1, the preparation phase, is to gather all the information you need for your project. This information might include, but not be limited to:

  • List of stakeholders
  • List of problems/pain points
  • Market research & strategy
  • Surveys or questionnaires completed by end-users
  • Competitor analysis
  • Vision document
  • Value Proposition
  • Business model canvas
  • Features list

Conclusion

Now that you’ve completed the preparation phase, you can move on to the investigation phase where you’ll begin to wrap your head around your present situation. For example, what is your existing system or process? And how does it work? You’ll then identify alternatives to that existing system. 

 

Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter to learn more in Part III of our End-User Assessment video series.

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