Tuesday, February 22, 2011

So much for the customer

This is probably not newsworthy, but it's nevertheless telling:

"[A journalist recently] ...  asked what consumer and market research Apple had done to guide the development of the new products."
“None, it isn’t the consumers’ job to know what they want.”

Actually, this behavior is not unique to Apple. Sony has been similarly credited, the Walkman being a most prominent example.

Is this good guidance for project managers?
Some thoughts:
  • It's hard to argue with success
  • There are not many like Steve Jobs!
  • Prima facia: You don't need the customer embedded in the team to build great products
My opinion:
  • Go for it! Ask the customer
  • If you're bidding competitively, you'd better ask the customer!
  • Pay attention, and learn whom you can trust
  • If the situation allows, ask after a prototype exists ... Facebook, GroupOn anyone?
  • But don't ask too many, in less you are prepared to handle the "wisdom of the crowds"! [And this applies in the competitive environment also]

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