How to Recruit Product Engineers

Product Engineers are changing the face of the product development domain. They are a step up from full-stack engineers and a level away from product developers. Simply put, product engineers are not plain coders; they code keeping user experience in mind. They not only understand technical stacks but also understand product design. You could call them “jack of all trades.”

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Do you get frustrated when your app’s features don’t reflect your vision? You had a perfect idea, precise product specs, technical resources, and tools, so what went wrong?

You missed the critical link between the design board and the market. You envisioned a product. You conveyed your idea to your designer. He communicated required technical specs to your engineer, who started coding. Where’s the collaboration? Where’s a continuous improvement? Consequently, you have a product that neither delivers ROI nor garners user acceptance.

Why Do you Need Product Engineers

If you have engineers who solve problems using code and product managers who take care of product features, why do you need product engineers? They are the critical bridge between design and development teams. By fostering two-way communication, product engineers ease friction between cross-functional teams. 

They code but with end products in perspective. Whenever presented with a coding opportunity, product-minded engineers evaluate how the code will impact the end product. More importantly, they think about user experience and business goals. They balance product specs with technical demands. The result is a product that meets market needs and business objectives- a win-win situation for all teams involved. 

You need a change in mindset here. Having product engineers in your team will create a pragmatic work culture with everyone striving towards building a winning product. 

How to Recruit Good Product Engineers

Product engineers need to have a blend of coding skills, analytical thinking, and business knowledge. A bit of creativity is a bonus. Plus, they have to be efficient managers and smooth talkers. 

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Step 1: Build a Job Description

Outline the proficiencies you desire in your potential product engineers. List their role and skillset categorically.

A sample job description could be: 

Product engineers will play a pivotal role throughout the development cycle, right from conception to testing. An astute understanding of market trends is necessary for the candidate.  

They need to be aligned with user expectations in a relevant niche. Once product specs are made, they will evaluate specs against market needs and re-align strategy to satisfy budget, time, and market constraints.

Product engineers will also have the responsibility to generate technical documentation and support material before a product is launched. They have to perform prototype testing for functionality, intuitiveness, and market appeal.

Add-on responsibilities can be assistance in the manufacturing process and guidance in packaging and marketing the product.

Read more: How to Manage Distributed Product Development Teams

Step 2: Interview Candidates

Go in for a structured interview instead of a generic banter with candidates. Have multiple screening rounds spread across different days? Screen at least two candidates per day so that you can eliminate unsuitable people early. This will save you lots of wasted effort and time.

Divide the evaluation questions into:

  1. Career goal and inspiration
  2. Academic and professional background
  3. Coding proficiency
  4. Product-based thinking skill
  5. Project communication 

Take time to weigh each candidate. You need an all-rounder who will impact your future products in a big way. Determine a candidate’s worth after analyzing his capabilities carefully. Have a ballpark figure in mind and leave room for negotiation.

Sample screening questions can be:

  • Define our company’s vision and values.
  • Why do you want to join us?
  • What interests you in product development?
  • Explain the layers of full-stack.
  • What are the benefits and drawbacks of database procedures?
  • If a product designer lists five desirable features at the end product (give the features), how will you prioritize them?
  • Which setup do you prefer- MVC or some other?
  • What’s the use of the front-end framework?
  • How do you gather user feedback?
  • How important to you is product testing?
  • What team structure do you prefer- full-stacked or layered?
  • How can we scale our teams?
  • What makes a good mentor?

Invite questions from the candidate. Indulge in a discussion if opinions on a question vary widely. Try to gauge the person’s mindset and affinity. Are they concerned only about employee benefits? Do they have genuine concern about delivering classy products? How can they add value to your team?

Your recruiter’s job would include the following:

  • Study candidates’ body language: Make a note of how confident and composed a candidate is. Since this isn’t an entry-level job, you’d expect experienced candidates to not get nervous during interviews.
  • Don’t do passive listening: Listen actively to answers. Jot down your doubts and allow the candidate to clarify or rectify their answers. Reflect on previous answers. Also, refer to them in connected questions. This will show how genuinely a candidate is answering.
  • Make notes while interviewing: Prepare a checklist of must-haves and good-to-haves. Write down your observations succinctly. Highlight each candidate’s unique capability and its impact on the product development process. Summarize the interview answers into brief points. Read back answers to the interviewee and ask if you’ve understood them correctly. By doing this, you can avoid miscommunication.
  • Give instant feedback:  If you find an answer unsatisfactory, call it out immediately. Let the interviewee explain their viewpoint. Once the evaluation is over, don’t leave the candidates in a lurch. Communicate the next steps clearly. Don’t hesitate to end the interview early if you find a mismatch between your expectations and the candidate’s capabilities. 
  • At iViewLabs, we consider recruitment as a vital building block of team building and product delivery. We invest time and energy into it. You can do the same. To save bandwidth, delegate interviewing and screening responsibilities to experienced product managers. Brief them before so that they know what to look for in a candidate. Let them add to the questions and rounds since they are more in touch with the actual development process.

Let us know how you recruit product engineers. We would be glad to assist you with more helpful resources and free consultation. 

If you are looking to build a web, mobile or a cloud product, you can avail of a round of discussion with iView Labs’ tech team. Our developers and project team are always here to help and suggest what is required and necessary for your products.

To know more about iView Labs, kindly log on to our website www.iviewlabs.com and to get in touch with us with your queries and needs just write us an email on  and .

Download the latest portfolio to see our works.

5 Effective Ways of Retaining Product Customers

In a saturated marketplace such as ours where competition is stiff, it makes sense to conserve the customer base that you have acquired. It’s a well-accepted fact: if you service the customers you have, you won’t have to go around hunting for new ones. Yet, sales and marketing people exert effort and expenses in generating leads.

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You can sell to an existing customer 7 out of 10 times, but only 1 out of 10 times to a new customer. Plus, acquiring new customers is costly. You can retain present customers at a fraction of this cost, one-sixth to be precise. And here’s the trump card of statistics in favor of customer retention: Gartner states that 80% of all your future ROI will come from just 20% of your customers. Wow, that’s an eye-opener! This means your business can survive (at least break even) just by cross-selling or up-selling to your existing customers. You almost don’t need to onboard new customers.

Are you thinking – this doesn’t concern me, I have a great product and my customers will never abandon me? Then, there’s another bitter pill you’ll have to swallow: no matter how good your product or service is, your customers might leave if they feel neglected. This is why many top-notch products and companies shut down. They just don’t work hard enough to build customer loyalty. In fact, a good 68% of customers say a company’s uncaring or impersonal attitude is a relationship-killer.

The graphic below will prove our point:

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Source

So putting things in perspective, we have compiled battle-tested techniques for retention of product customers.

1) Deliver Quality Products: The key to gaining repeat business is delivering top quality products. Nothing works as well as a product that wows with its features. Even if your product is marked higher than competitors, it will reign supreme if it’s a cut above the rest.

Let’s illustrate with an example: Two doorstep service providers, Urban Clap and Yes Madame. Both offer at-home salon services at competitive prices. Urban clap is priced higher than Yes Madame. Yet, it is market share is bigger. Why? The differentiator is service quality. UC technicians are better trained, use branded products, and are punctual and courteous. Granted, UC has the first-mover advantage, but it’s managed to keep up and even beat competition just because of its killer services. Although, the great marketing helps, but remember, even the most radical marketer can’t sell a product that sucks. Do ample market research when creating your product strategy. Understand what your audience needs. Have a long vision plus short-term goals. Never compromise on quality when faced with time or budget constraints. This is a non-negotiable area that every successful product company excels at. 

Read MoreIs Your Product Really Solving a Problem?     

2) Nurture Customer Relations: KPMG in their study found customer retention to be the biggest revenue driver for companies. The secret that many product companies don’t know is that loyal customers are their best promoters. Satisfied customers become brand ambassadors of a company. They campaign unknowingly about the superb experience they’ve had with a company or product they’re using. Their genuine, first-hand account is a marketing billboard in itself. You don’t need to hire expensive influencers for generating brand awareness or leads for yourself. Your happy customers are doing it for you. So, provide excellent customer service. Reward your return customers with gated offers, discounts, and resources. Treat them well and they’ll treat you better. Keep in touch with them via email, newsletters, and your website. Feature their stories on your social apps and website. Make them your family. Involve them in your journey and they will stay till the very end. A practical way to do this is to draw a list of customers who buy from you regularly. Reach out to them via exclusive offers and make them feel special. Another good tip: List out subscribers to your newsletter. These are people who show an active interest in your work but haven’t purchased anything yet. To make them jump boat, send a first-time promotion offer or discounted service/product. 

3) Lend a Personal Touch: Personalize all your emails and offers. Rid the assembly line approach of sending mass emails. An Ecoconsultancy survey has proved personalized offers, based on a user’s purchase history and preference, can surge your ROI to the sky. This infographic compares the business returns of companies using personalization vs. those that don’t.

4) Listen to Your Customers: Some product companies just never stop selling. Every effort of theirs is geared towards the cash register. This is hardly effective as customers, existing or new, don’t want to be taken for a ride. You’ll have to give them something in return. One of the best ways to make the relationship mutually beneficial is to incorporate their feedback into your future offerings. Don’t send lengthy questionnaires to customers asking them for their opinion or experience with your product. Keep it short and simple. Encourage specific, precise feedback regarding what they liked or didn’t like. Try to collate points and factor them into your product strategy. Do keep respondents in the loop, reassuring that their feedback isn’t ignored. When you value your customers’ opinions, they become stakeholders in your business.  Your product becomes more aligned to market needs. Your ROI improves and so does your customer satisfaction index.5-Effective-Ways-of-Retaining-Product-Customers_3 Source

5) Use a CRM: A CRM system is a handy way to keep track of how customers interact with your product. Draw up metrics of customer inquiries. What bottlenecks are customers facing with your service or product? Are they content with the after-sales service you’re giving? Do you need to improve in some areas? Deeply inspect issues that are reported by the majority of your customers. These have to be resolved on a priority basis. CRM also gives you a sneak peek into how well your sales or customer service staff are working. Disgruntled employees and lackadaisical post-sales staff can annoy a customer big time. This is a serious red flag for any organization and should be attended to immediately.

Wrap Up

By now, you must have grasped the impact customer retention can have on the sales and success of your business. Work your magic on your current customers. They are the big fish that’ll act as bait for the other fish in the pond.

If you are looking to build a web, mobile or a cloud product, you can avail of a round of discussion with iView Labs’ tech team. Our developers and project team are always here to help and suggest what is required and necessary for your products.

To know more about iView Labs, kindly log on to our website www.iviewlabs.com and to get in touch with us with your queries and needs just write us an email on  and .

Download the latest portfolio to see our works.

How to Develop an Effective Product Strategy

A product starts as an idea or a vision. But not all brilliant ideas transform into brilliant products. To convert an abstract vision into a concrete product, one that fulfills its business objectives, requires a precise product strategy. 

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“Product Strategy” can be defined as a product’s journey from the sketch board to the market. A journey needs to have a destination. This can be equated to the user experience a product envisions to give to its users. It needs to have a route. This can be the processes, protocols, and resources that go into a product’s development.  

Why is Product Strategy Essential?

Can you reach your destination efficiently if you don’t know where you are headed? Or which route to take? Or what obstacles you might encounter on your way? The answer is an emphatic NO. You will most likely get distracted en route, or get lost in the crowd, or reach your target too late or too tired. 

Similarly, a product needs to know its end goal and its end users so that it can be termed as a “business success”. There is no dearth of products that were made with great intent but without great knowledge of the market and users. Consequently, they fail to generate desired revenue and are a deplorable waste of time, resources, and manpower.

An astute product strategy gives direction to the product team. It outlines the intent of every step of the manufacturing process. By eliminating guesswork, product strategy gives a scientific algorithm that facilitates strategic decision making. Not based on assumptions but hard facts, product strategy tenets will make your product a profitable investment. 

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Source: https://www.myproductroadmap.com/collections/product-strategy-templates 
How to Craft a Winning Product Strategy

People buy products. No. Let me tweak that a bit. People buy products they NEED. If you want more people to buy your product, it makes sense to examine the needs of your users. The more your product aligns with users’ needs, the wider are its chances of success.

Read more: Is Your Product Really Solving a Problem

But the first question that you need to sort is: who are your users? Let’s delve into this right away.

Step #1: Identify Your Users

In a competitive market scenario such as ours, you can’t afford to make mistakes. Your product needs to hit the bullseye in the first go. There is no room for ambiguity.

Create really accurate user personas for all segments of your user base. The more specific you get, the better will be your understanding of their mindset. 

Indulge in market research to examine new users. Send mail surveys to existing users. Ask questions, feedback, and personal experiences from your customers to derive their aspirations.How-to-Develop-an-Effective-Product-Strategy_3 Source: https://www.researchrockstar.com/can-you-name-8-market-research-methods/

Step #2: Identify Their Problems

Once you have a few well-defined user personas, get inside their minds. Learn how they think and what they want. What challenges do they face and what expectations do they have from a product?

Read more: Is Your Product Really Solving a problem

Understand this: Customers don’t want the same old product, packaged differently. The millennial customers especially are discerning and aware. They research products online and offline before reaching for their pocketbooks. Ensure you astutely understand customer aspirations so that you can create a product that is tailor-made to fulfill their needs.

Step #3: Identify the “Sweet Spot”

You know your users. You know their expectations. You know what the competitors are offering. You also know your monetary objectives and constraints. The next milestone is to find a balance between what users want and what you can give them (within budget and time constraints). The common area between user expectations, competitor offerings, and your deliverables is called the “Sweet Spot”. 

Bear in mind: You can’t promise the moon and stars to customers and deliver rocks. But you can’t burn a hole in your pocket trying to cater to user demands which are non-feasible to your business. 

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Source: https://idea-sandbox.com/blog/strategic-sweet-spot/#axzz62Ui2OtEU

Align corporate goals with market demands. Then, include product features that can fulfill both these variables. What you will get is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), a working product model with all essential features. The embellishments can come later, as budget and market reach expands.

Step #4: Watertight Your Development Processes

Now we come to operations. Convey your product vision to the entire development team. Don’t silo them. Encourage open communication between designers, developers, and marketers. Conjunction between thinking of all the teams is necessary for the timely, smooth delivery of your product.

Agile development methodology can work wonders in an evolving market such as ours. Integrate continuous development, delivery, testing, and improvement into your processes. Have time-bound, iterative development sprints. Keep clearing backlog from previous sprints whilst working on new requirements. 

Conduct usability testing on real users and observe their interaction with your product closely. Note the bottlenecks they are facing. Improve upon them in the next iteration. Keep improving and keep delivering.

Read more: Ten Secrets to Make Your Product Development a Success

Step #5: Track Your Progress

Don’t get complacent after an initial spurt of activity. Have Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and build metrics to monitor how well your strategy caters to each area. 

Use tools such as CRMs to get first-hand information on your customers’ satisfaction levels. You can leverage agile tenets to integrate user feedback into the development process. Re-align your strategy accordingly.

To Wrap Up

Product strategy is the link between a hazy product vision and a well-defined development roadmap. It bridges the gaps between these two. Products based on an intuitive product strategy are able to make good ROI, capture markets effectively, and get a strategic advantage over competitor products.

Product strategy proves to be a game-changer in the long run. All successful products have a clear cut product strategy as their foundation. Invest in crafting a product strategy so that you don’t have to reinvest in overhauling your entire development later.

If you are looking to build a web, mobile or a cloud product, you can avail of a round of discussion with iView Labs’ tech team. Our developers and project team are always here to help and suggest what is required and necessary for your products.

To know more about iView Labs, kindly log on to our website www.iviewlabs.com and to get in touch with us with your queries and needs just write us an email on  and .

Download the latest portfolio to see our works.

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Team iView Labs

How to Manage Distributed Product Development Teams

An important tenet of the Agile Manifesto is that successful product teams must collaborate daily from a shared co-location. But, we wish to challenge this notion. Remote product teams (spanning continents, cultures, and time zones) are very much the need of the hour. And, with sophisticated collaborative tools available, distributed teams can be as productive as co-located ones. A changed mindset from product managers and some flexibility from team members is the only requisite.

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Continue reading How to Manage Distributed Product Development Teams

Gitex Technology Week 2019 – A Spectacular Showdown of Tech Wizards

The 39th Gitex Technology Week will be held in Dubai from October 6 to 10, 2019. It showcases products, innovations, and technologies from across 26 major sectors. More than 4,500 startups and mid-sized companies will participate and about 100,000 visitors are expected to grace the event.

Content spanning 290 hours will be covered. The event holds special significance as it will witness the first-ever Gitex Technology Awards to honor industry trailblazers ad thought leaders.


Continue reading Gitex Technology Week 2019 – A Spectacular Showdown of Tech Wizards

Ten Secrets to Make Your Product Development a Success

Success doesn’t come from guesswork, innovation, or diligence. It is a combination of all this, plus more. As we unraveled from Neilson’s Consumer 360 Study that is collated by industry trailblazers and innovators. Their disruptive ideas about consumer behavior and product development will be an eye opener for most of us.

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Is Your Product Really Solving a Problem?

Have you ever sat and wondered why Uber and Urban Clap are such a roaring success? Why a simplistic app like Freshmenu took the world by storm? What all these products have in common is that they aim to solve real problems and pain points of consumers. Because at the end of the day, customers don’t care about your product, they are just concerned with how your product can solve THEIR problems. This is the secret that smart marketers and product designers realize early on, rather than after failing with many “innovative” products that look very “cool” but are of little interest to their target audience!

Now, let’s dive deep into the real question at hand today – Is your product really solving a problem?

Is Your Product Really Solving a Problem

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Top 6 Metrics used to measure app success

Most customers from all segments of society and the financial status world over have one thing in common today. They all own a mobile phone and not just any mobile phone but a smartphone. It is no surprise that mobile phone users are using applications for an increasing number of tasks whether it is booking an airline, planning an itinerary, paying an outstanding bill or taking an academic course online. Businesses today, therefore, find it important to have their presence and reach out to customers and users through an application.

Continue reading Top 6 Metrics used to measure app success

Top IT strategies to apply to modernize your existing applications

With each passing year, technology and developments in the field are moving at a faster pace. This has led to a never-ending increase in the demands of the customers and a race amongst the clients trying to fulfil such needs. Users today want a rich experience that helps them leverage the advanced possibilities that new technologies can offer. Despite being aware of this, several organisations today use out-dated applications that do not meet the current demands of time. Some examples are a financial system running on an Apple IIGS machine, MS- DOS, Sales terminals running on out-dated Intel computers.

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How DevOps can change the way we build softwares

Dynamic times, fast technological advancements and increasing competition require continuous adaption and increased flexibility from employees, teams, and organisations. At the same time, these fast-paced changes also require a high amount of creative discipline from all members for tasks to complete in a timely manner and for projects to succeed. Forward thinking organisations are making efforts to change and adapt their cultural practices in order to stay with the times.

Continue reading How DevOps can change the way we build softwares