Over the past few months, we’ve been asking for our customers’ participation in gathering a crack team of individuals to start using a pre-release version of Spring. They will not be called the A-Team, but will simply be known as Stakeholders.
What is a stakeholder? A common term within the world of product development, “stakeholder” typically refers to key participants in the idea, development, and production phases of a product’s lifecycle. These individuals could be financial backers, project managers, target audiences, or other players.
At Solid Earth, we are purposefully using the term “stakeholder” when inviting people to use Spring during the development/pre-release stage because we want there to be an understanding that these people are more than just “testers”. In fact, we feel that the less we use the word “testing” the better; the objective for the interaction between our internal team and external stakeholders is to facilitate understanding.
The Objectives of Understanding
There are three specific things we’re trying to do as we invite external individuals into this stage:
- We want to learn about our users: behaviors, patterns, environments, values, strategies, etc.
- We want to listen to our users… praises, concerns, questions, comments, likes, dislikes, etc.
- We want to tell our users’ stories… processes, habits, objectives, goals, obstacles, etc.
By learning and listening to our stakeholders as they are introduced to Spring, begin to interact with it, discover useful or cool or painful or confusing points, and then reflect on what it means to them, we can begin to reciprocate and tell their story. We reiterate our designs and feature sets to better reflect what our most important partners, our users, are trying to attain.
So, being a stakeholder is much, much more than just testing and filling out the response form. Testing is simply an inherent by-product of the actually usage of the product. We’re excited that instead of performing trial-and-error tasks, stakeholders are implicitly and explicitly helping mold Spring into its ultimate form.
Track with us as we being to report on some of the trends and analytics we discover as our stakeholders engage with Spring.