Product and Engineering Wisdom - Issue #16

Tips and advice on why gathering user feedback is critical to business success.

free fortnightly email that highlights the relevant tips, advice, and case studies from the world of product and engineering for the SEO community.

Hello 👋,

In this issue, the topic is why gathering user feedback is critical to business success.

These posts are a great read if you want to better understand how user feedback can help improve a business' bottom-line:

Note: The Post of The Sprint has nothing to do with the topic I just really liked how relevant it was for SEOs to learn more about software engineering.

Stay safe and enjoy.


The SEO Sprint Retrospective

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⚡Post of the Sprint

What I learned from Software Engineering at Google

by Swizec

Reading time: 5 mins 👀

A blog post from Swizec an expert Software Engineer who enjoyed the book "Software Engineering at Google" and summarised important lessons for engineering teams of any size.

Adam’s Insight: This post isn't have anything to do with user feedback. However, it is a quick that packs a lot for SEOs wanting to learn more about software engineering.

Swizec discusses a lot and the different lessons engineers can learn from Google, including:

  • Software engineering isn't just about writing code to solve one task, it is about considering the long term direct and indirect effects of your code.

  • Fixing bugs breaks another part of the system Joe Blogs in finance needed, so use the Beyoncé rule "if Joe liked that bug, he should put a test on it."

  • Finding bugs in your code earlier in the development cycle is easier and quicker to fix, production level mistakes take longer to fix.

  • Automate common tasks in your development team to help maintain the quality of the codebase.

  • Small and frequent releases are easier to manage, revert and understand.

  • Just like code releases, it is important to make updates small and frequent to applications or frameworks (major updates are a pain to manage).

If you're interested in learning more about software engineering this is a great read.


Tug of War: Balancing What’s Best for the User vs. Business

by Erika Warren, Behzod Sirjani, Ravi Mehta, Keya Patel

Reading time: 33 minutes ☕

A very long post that goes into great detail about balancing the user and business value in tech companies.

Adam’s Insight: The reality of product management is that it isn't all about "being obsessed with the customer".

You need to find a balance between user and business value which helps drive growth. However, some tech companies sacrifice the quality of user experience for financial gain in the short term.

This blog post by Reforge provides details on:

  • Real-world case studies of where business value and user value clash.

  • Why it is important to get business and user value balance right.

  • The shift from time spent vs time well-spent metrics.

  • The relationship between user value and business value in the long term.

  • Tools that you can put use to put user vs business value concepts into practice.

As SEOs, we tend to focus on quantity business metrics but this is a great piece that highlights the need to focus on the quality of user experience.]

This is a great post for any in-house SEO who wants to think more about how to include user-centric metrics into your projects.

Early and often: the secrets to product success

by Chris Wallace

Reading Time: 5 mins 👀

Chris Wallace provides an introduction to leveraging customer feedback for product success.

Adam’s Insight: Customer feedback is crucial and I've had first hand experience in how it can shape a feature's roadmap.

Product teams focus heavily on gathering both qualitative and quantitative feedback - which is usually added to a feedback database. The data is then categorised, processed and managed.

At DeepCrawl this changed over the years as we changed tools and how we collected data. As a team, we always found it was very useful in providing context to sales, technical or customer success issues.

In fact, without the data, it would be very difficult to gain context or identify key business trends (Web Analytics is more about quantity than quality or satisfying customers).

In the long term, this helped us have a positive impact on the bottom line of the business.

I don't know many SEOs who gather customer data or even go through it, but it is extremely valuable to collect, process and identify key trends.

If you're working in-house or an SEO Strategist this is a great introduction to product teams and customer feedback.

Working with user feedback during COVID-19

by Vika Nightingale and Ian Ansell

Reading time: 5 mins 👀

This blog post by Vika and Ian at Government Digital Services is a great case study on how gathering customer feedback can be used to react to a crisis like COVID-19.

Adam’s Insight: I'm a sucker for Government Digital Services blog posts as they are always packed full of insights. This is no different.

Organisations like the Government need to react to rapidly changing markets and user behaviour. This is why user feedback is crucial. It provides context and insights which can be used by teams to make technical, content or UX changes.

The Government teams have worked with data engineers, analysts and research support to create a feedback data infrastructure from multiple sources.

Creating this infrastructure has allowed them to:

  • Enable teams across GOV.UK to access COVID-19 feedback and insights.

  • Created better analysis and reporting capabilities for teams to quickly improve Government services and informational pages.

  • Get COVID-19 feedback to the relevant senior stakeholder.

If you're interested in the real-world applications of gathering customer feedback, I would recommend reading this post from GOV.UK.


Bridging Between Worlds: A Collaborative Story of Data and Decision Science

by Adam Inzelberg and Ilan Voronel

Reading times: 10 mins 👀

A blog post from the PayPal Technology blog discusses two methods to detect fraudulent activity on the platform.

Adam’s Insight: I'm always interested in understanding the logic behind why and how engineers address problems.

This is a great example of collaboration between different teams at a company like PayPal trying to solve the problem of fraud.

The team discuss two methods in detail:

  • Supervised Graph Linking Based Clustering

  • Unsupervised Clustering Approach

If you're interested in how a company like PayPal are tackling fraud through technology and team collaboration this is the post for you.

The SEO Sprint Retrospective

Please feel free to leave feedback so I can improve this newsletter.