We’ve already covered in the previous articles what usability is and why you need to test it and what you need to do to prepare for your usability tests. In this thrilling* conclusion to the trilogy, we get down to the nitty-gritty of how to run the tests and how to interpret and act on the results.

* It all depends on your perspective

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Quite a few people are put off usability testing because they think it’s complicated, time-consuming and expensive. What you may not realise is that you can run a set of usability tests in a single afternoon that will uncover eighty percent of the problems your product has. And the only specialist equipment you’ll need is a pen, some paper and the computer you need to access the software or website.

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Does your sales team sell your products (like, in exchange for money), or does it give them away as generous sweeteners to guarantee the sale of something else that will hit their targets? Or to put it in another way, does your salesforce truly understand the value of your products and can it articulate the benefits to the customer?

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While I was working at a former start-up called Zeus Technology (now doing rather well for itself, thank you), one of the investors was a chap called Nic Brisbourne. He is a perfectly pleasant chap, but at the time he scared the life out of me. I think that subconsciously I worried I might scare him and his venture capital away. One day I accidentally nicked his taxi and he was surprising forgiving.

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To be a product manager is to be an entrepreneur within your company. You need to take ownership and responsibility for all things to do with your product. Your approach needs to be holistic, evidence-based and diplomatic. You need the ability to jump between the big picture and the day-to-day detail. And you need to know your product, market, company and self to be effective.

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