How to discourage CEO from developing unncessary feature


#1

I’m here agaian with another problem.
CTO of the company decided he wants to develop some kind of a dashboard (just because it looks nice and will sell, because competition has it, because CEO of companies need it).
What i know is that around 12 people out of hundres who use system daily use our current Dashboard.
Nobody ever asks about Dashboard, no user needs it. What they need is a better working system.

What can I do to show him that nobody needs the dashboard?


#2

I think you’d have to show him why it wouldn’t sell. If a CEO needs it, even if hardly anyone else does, the CEO would probably pay for it which may make it a decent investment for the bottom line.

You’d have to be able to prove that the hundreds of people who don’t use the dashboard aren’t using it because they don’t need it because it’s possible that they aren’t using it because they’re unaware or uncomfortable with it.

In the end, even if you can prove your case beyond a reasonable doubt, keep in mind that the CTO (or CEO?) gets to have their own way, even if they are making a poor decision. You may end up building the dashboard no matter what.


#3

Ha!

I’ve just been asked to come up with a dashboard. It adds one stage to the interaction. The user has to go through dashboard to get to a data table.

So I combined the dashboard with the data table insofar as the dashboard acts as a filter on the table.

I think your situation maybe a bit different. Any more details?


#4

I’m going to play Devil’s Advocate here and come at things from a business perspective.

If a CEO of a company is asking for a particular feature, that feature becomes important and a priority due to the mere fact that the CEO has the final say in who that company does business with. Keeping them happy is essential to keeping the business relationship in top form.

What this means is that your target audience for this feature becomes very, very narrow. In a way, that’s great - it gives you the ability to focus on a small group of captive users, and an opportunity to work directly with the head of a close business partner.

This now becomes part of the customer service/PR part of UX which is essential, but not often talked about. As UXers, we interact with our users and customers frequently. That means we must be good representatives of our employers when it comes to facetime with our users, whether they’re Joe Blow on the street or Ms. CEO from our largest business partner.

I would take this an opportunity to flex your UX skills on a high-visibility project that crosses business boundaries. You’ll be able to show your UX research and design skills in a way that will help build understanding of and support of the discipline within multiple organizations while building connections that could be immensely helpful in your future career.

Sometimes our job is to ensure that every feature we develop is useful for all of our users. Sometimes our job is to build features to help key business partners succeed. Those two aspects of design don’t always overlap, but it’s important to remember that they don’t have to intersect for a project to be valuable from a UX or business perspective.


#5

Sounds like the perfect opportunity to introduce a Google design sprint. If you haven’t heard of this methodology before, it’s a one week sprint to validate a product idea/feature. It basically involves the whole team designing and building a prototype and getting feedback from real users, all in 5 days. After this week, you’ll have a much better idea whether it is an idea worth building for real. Very effective and highly recommended


#6

Well, actually you can’t discourage him to do that yet (based on what you wrote). There is a problem behind the dashboard idea that needs to be found before. At first, the motivation behind the request may look like competitor leverage, which is ok from the business perspective, you need to find the users problems that a dashboard would solve and if it’s relevant to solve.

You talked about only a few users would take advantage of the dashboard but low engagement isn’t a reason to discard the idea yet, engagement is a symptom of a non-existent problem or a wrong solution and both will give you material to design a better solution.

You need to take that job and go deeper in the research, if users doesn’t need it you will find enough evidence to support your hypothesis. Map the users to design the journey with proper wants & needs, you need to support your hypothesis with data. Maybe you will find a middle ground between the dashboard and what you think is necessary now.

Another great thing to do is a projection of ROI. After proper research, not under user PoV only, you should be able to have an idea of cost and benefits of this feature to support a possible middle ground and maybe an MVP before jump into a full expensive dashboard. Maybe you can even address these problems in the working system you mentioned. CEOs speak numbers so Its usually the best approach so far.


#7

What works in these situations is to build two versions of a thing: your version, CEOs version and go out and test both.

If you can demonstrate one idea works better than another then you can use that to challenge the CEO


#8

Ehh, the biggest issue here is the fact that the whole application needs lots of things but a CEO dashboard. It’s maybe at the end of the list of priorities. Should there be a different situation, I agree, I would take this opportunity. But since I am a USER experience designer, I want to bring value to users, which need introducing integrations with other tools, or having more flexibility in building their workflows within the tool.

If you read all my crazy messages, you probably know that I’m in the process of discovering Top Tasks for the company and the tool. When I’m done with it I will have proof that dashboard is not what they need right now. I have analytics installed, which tells me that the CEO dashboard we have now is rarely used.


#9

I see… Well, CEOs usually are business-oriented minds, they rarely understand user-centered language, so backing your priorities up with business value and the waste of money of developing a dashboard would make it easier. :frowning: