Q&A: What’s the name for ‘continuing to find product-market fit’?
I’m asked questions about product management from time to time. Here’s one I’ve answered recently:
Do you have a term/name for continuing to find/refine product-market fit?
Or is product-market fit something you find once and then ignore after you found it?
Is there a term you’ve run into that talks about it as an ongoing process? Specifically as it relates to innovation or disruption (market changes).DM
In my view, product-market fit is a bit of a moving target for a few reasons:
- Early adopters are a different profile of user with different needs to those in later stages (early majority / late majority / laggards), so product-market fit looks different for each group.
(I’m aware that product-market fit is usually characterised as the point at which you ‘cross the chasm’ as Geoffrey Moore defined it, but I’m arguing it’s spread over the whole product lifecycle.)
- Significant disruptions to an existing market, for example, new disruptive entrant, or unpredictable external factors (COVID-19) may dramatically redefine what product-market fit looks like for that set of users.
- Learning about user needs should be continual, so even if nothing else changes, your understanding about user needs should become more detailed, allowing you to fine-tune product-market fit as you understand your users more.
Which is a long way of saying that the term for continuing to find or refine product-market fit is probably just ‘ongoing user research’.
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