People Are the Secret to Great Products

Posted on April 17th 2018 by Zack Naylor, CEO, Co-founder

First who, then what. That’s the popular mantra to building massively successful and long-lasting companies. The same is true for crafting beautifully designed products and experiences. You may look to tools and processes for the secret to building a great product and user experience but in the end, the secret is people. Knowing who you are designing and building for and having a team who cares about helping those people will give you the greatest chance of success.

Photo by Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash


No Shortcuts, No Silver Bullets

Agile, Scrum, Waterfall, or whatever process you follow won’t save you. Nothing beats a talented, passionate team that shares the same vision for the thing they’re building and more importantly, for who.

A lot of studies have been done to figure out how successful companies and products get made and in the end it all comes down to having the right people and knowing the people you serve (customers). Sadly, there are still teams out there looking to the newest product development processes or tools to fix broken customer experiences.

The answer is simple. Talk to your customers and learn what they need. Create shared vision from what you learn and get your entire team behind that vision. A smart, motivated team of people with a clear goal for how to serve other people can do extraordinary things.


Your People Understanding and Serving Other People

There’s simply no replacement for understanding your customers - the people you serve. Everyone talks about being customer focused. We all agree that we should be “user centered” but more often than not, we don’t practice what we preach.

Sprinkling some Agile on a product or company won’t fix a thing if you don’t know who your customers are. The latest and greatest design tools or javascript framework will have little effect unless you’re designing and building something that helps your customers become better versions of themselves.

The only way to help people become a better version of themselves tomorrow is to deeply understand who they are today.

Every decision we make should be informed by something we learned from our customers through research and feedback directly from those people. It’s hard, I know. But if you have the right people, who care about people, the rest will work itself out.


We made Aurelius to help you make sense of what you learn from customers in user research and use it to make better design, product and feature decisions. You can learn more about it and try if for free here.

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