By: Carol Vercellino, CEO & Co-Founder

Our clients often bring us pre-existing software or apps to fix. You’d be surprised how many of these solutions – that companies have spent thousands and thousands of dollars on – don’t come even close to meeting their end-user’s needs, or simply working as planned.

Even when they have the best or most practical designs, when it comes to testing or scaling the product, everything begins to unravel.

Now, we work with smart people. Really smart people. But even the smartest people can make seemingly obvious errors when it comes to technology. And most of the time those errors could have been avoided looong before the development process.

Which is why we encourage all our clients to perform an end-user needs assessment before finalizing the features list or development roadmap.

What is an end-user needs assessment?

 

If you’ve ever considered developing, or even just buying, technology for your business, you probably know what a technology needs assessment is. 

A technology needs assessment is an assessment of the technological needs of your company. Pretty straightforward, right?

Now, an end-user needs assessment is very similar except you’re evaluating the needs of…you guessed it, your end-user.

Basically, before you develop a software product, app, or other technology for your company, you should first understand the problem or problems your end-user is having, which product/service/feature best meets their needs, and how they’re going to use it.

A needs assessment can help you answer those two questions, plus it should also help you answer the question:

Will this tech or feature improve your bottom line, streamline processes, and increase customer satisfaction? Or will it simply drain your funds?

Obviously, we’re trying to avoid the latter.

How do you create an end-user needs assessment?

Okay, so you understand what an end-user needs assessment is. But how do you conduct it?

An end-user needs assessment typically includes 3 phases:

  1.  the preparation phase
  2. the investigation phase
  3. the decision phase.

The preparation phase

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

We’ll dive more into the preparation phase in Part 2 of this video series.

The investigation phase

In the investigation phase, you’re working to wrap your head around your present situation. For example, what is your existing system or process? And how does it work? Then, you want to identify alternatives to that existing system. 

You’ll learn more about the investigation phase in part 3 of this series.

The decision phase

Finally, in part 4 of our video series, you have the decision phase. This is when you’ll flush out the new proposed system and how you’ll build it

Conclusion

With a needs assessment, your ultimate goal is to ensure you’re meeting your end-user’s current needs and creating new opportunities for your company to upstage the competition and wow your customers.

Understanding what an end-users needs assessment is just the beginning. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter to learn more in Part II of our End-User Assessment video series.

Don’t have a tech idea yet? Find the sweet spot between what you know and what the world needs by downloading our free retooled SWOT framework. Get it here.