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How to Pivot a Product Idea at the Right Time

Innovation / Experiment
Product Team
Product
Embracing Failures

23 November, 2021

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null at Evermos

Adi Purwanto Sujarwadi, VP of Product at Evermos, shares how he diligently managed a product in one of the biggest eCommerce companies by being an individual contributor.

The Product Was About to Shut Down

In one of the previous startup companies I worked at, I moved teams. I received an existing product from the last PM, which was operating for a couple of years. The problem with the product was that the previous PM tried to re-do the product, but it had very slow traction. While the management decided to shut down the product, I saw great potential in it and chose to work towards making it functional.

What Does It Take To Convert a Product Idea Into Reality

Ask Questions:
I asked some basic questions to the team, some of which were:

  • Who are the users?
  • What are their problems?
  • What data do we have?

It turned out that the situation was worse than I had imagined. The team did not have tracking in place for which I did not have the quantitative data or product, and upon asking about the user’s problems, all I got were assumptions. Since there was no proper research and validation, I had to answer all the questions by conducting my own research. Therefore, I collaborated with the research team.

After some quick research, we found that initially, the product was B2C, but it should be B2B, in reality. The management was already thinking about discarding the product; we needed to convince them about its possibilities through proper research.

Build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP):
Instead of building a B2B product, we input data ourselves and then upload the Google sheet to the product. Instead of building a b2b product, which would require engineering resources, we decided to do things manually as a proof of concept. After we had the data in hand, we input all of it one by one manually, and the result was great. People appreciated the product afterward.

Pivot the Product:
Once the research was done, we decided to pivot the product from B2C to B2B. We could convince the management to keep the product because we could share with the MVP, and the processes were done manually, which gave us better traction.

The Outcome: Today, the product is one of the significant products in the company. They invested a lot in the marketing of it, and it runs very successfully. If we had not pivoted at the right time, it might not have been such a big fish!

Lessons learned

  • When you’re dealing with the user’s problem, make sure that you know who your users are and what exactly their issue could be. Don’t blindly believe in assumptions.
  • If you’re building a product, don’t just build it for the sake of doing it. Be able to deliver some business values, which means everything you do should be measurable.
  • Be brave to pivot when things don’t work out. Imagine if we kept iterating the product as B2C, it wouldn’t go anywhere. Since we asked the questions, decided that B2B is the way to go, and created the MVP, it helped us pivot the product.

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