What putting a dog to sleep taught me about adding features to a product
My friend lost his dog unexpectedly a week ago.
Losing a pet is like losing a family member. It’s painful.
I asked him what happened. Swallowing hard, he recounted the weeks leading up to her death. She had stopped eating and could only muster slight glances up from her bed despite calls to engage in play.
We chose to put her down, he said. It wasn’t easy, but when we realized that saving her life was more about us than it was about the dog’s well-being, we knew we were making the right choice.
It was a sad story, but here is what I learned:
When seeking to solve a pain, consider your intent.
Are you focused on what you will lose or what’s at stake for the other person?
If it’s about you, either shift your perspective back to them or it’s time to let go.
In my friend’s case, shifting perspective back to the dog would have meant exploratory surgery and doing everything possible to help the dog survive. Unfortunately, this shift would have only prolonged the dog’s life a couple of months and during that time the dog would have remained in pain. My friend weighed the options with his family and they chose to let go.
Now, how much better would our products and services be if we chose to make decisions about how we serve our customers this way?
It is easy to add features to our products and pay lip service to the problems it will solve for our customers. But, when you pull back the covers you find pet projects and selfish ideals at play.
Not always, but it’s worth stopping and asking the question, who is this really for?