Five Common Traps to Avoid When Launching Your First Product

Carrington McDaniel
Nov 20, 2023
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Developing a product can be a daunting task, especially if it is your first time doing so. Having an idea for a product is just the beginning, and there is much more to consider when it comes to the development process. One of the biggest challenges that product developers face is figuring out how to create a product that effectively addresses user problems. This challenge can be even more pronounced during the planning and development of the first version of any product.

Many first-time product launchers tend to fall into common pitfalls that could potentially harm their business. However, identifying and avoiding these traps can help ensure that your product launch is successful. Here are five common traps that are often encountered in software development and strategies to avoid them.

Common Traps

Trap 1: Focusing on Features Over Value in Your Initial Software Release

This is a common mistake that can be risky if not handled properly. It's tempting to try to include every possible feature that could be remotely related to the product vision in the first version, but this can create confusion when it comes to prioritizing tasks and roadmaps, and it can also delay your launch. Instead of launching many incomplete and flawed features that don't solve the user's problem or make it difficult for users actually to use the feature, it's better to launch minimal features that simply get the job done.

One of the first exercise that usually we do with our client is feature-trimming, usually, the initial project requirement consists of a big list of features. We first try to understand what are the problems that we are targeting with the first version of the product. We then identify the user stories and the features needed to implement solutions for just those problems and remove anything and everything that doesn’t pass the criteria of being relevant.

Example: Flowchart showing Feature prioritization process

Trap 2: Developing Features Without Understanding Your Users

Oftentimes, people have ideas about the industry they want to target and the size of companies they want to focus on, but they don't know who will use their product once it's launched. They try to optimize for all user personas equally, but when working on an app, it's important to have a clear understanding of your primary user persona. This knowledge helps prioritize features and goals for your product.

We make sure that all planned user screens for the product are connected to user personas and their corresponding user stories. Screens that do not help solve problems for your main persona, especially in the initial stages, do not belong in the product. This approach helps prioritize features and goals for the product and improves the chances of getting usage and feedback for the first version.

Trap 3: Striving for perfection in the first version

Once the prioritization is done, the next common mistake is to become fixated on the quality of the initial release. Some may attempt to cover every possible scenario and edge case related to a given feature while losing sight of the main workflow.

However, trying to handle every edge case is not the best approach for a first-version launch. It is impossible to anticipate and address every edge case, and doing so can distract from the main workflow. This could be counterproductive and hinder progress towards meeting tight launch deadlines.

A better approach is to focus on building a feature while ensuring that the primary workflow associated with it functions well. If you have actual users for your beta product, it is sometimes better to use tools like FullStory to understand their user behaviour and patterns, and to try to catch any flaws or limitations of the product without solely relying on their explicit feedback. Similarly, products like Sentry can also be helpful in identifying edge cases and gaps from the technical implementation perspective.

Trap 4: Assuming you know everything about your product's use cases and problems

Sometimes founders or founding teams believe they know everything about user problems based on in-house research. However, they may not talk to potential customers and may build features and products based solely on their own understanding.

This approach may not be correct because what you think is a big problem may not actually be a big problem for your target users. They may have a good workaround or existing solution for a problem, and they want you to solve actual pressing problems that they are struggling with.

To mitigate this, involving potential users early in the design and development process can be helpful. High-fidelity designs and prototypes can be used to get feedback from design partners or potential target users. At Good Code, we sometimes join UI/UX feedback calls to ensure that the designs meet the needs of the consumers, identify gaps, and explore areas for improvement.

Solving important problems in your first launch can also boost morale when you see users using the product. Otherwise, you may launch with ten features, and none of them may interest your customers, resulting in a lost opportunity to validate your product.

Trap 5: Overemphasizing the Most Complicated Engineering Feature in the UI

This can occur when the founding team consists mostly of software engineers who are deeply attached to their tech stack or the engineering complexity of their algorithm or solution, and they want it to be a central part of the product interface.

However, it's essential to consider that your users may not be as advanced as you think. At Good Code, we prioritize implementing user interfaces that offer complex engineering features in the simplest way possible. Our goal is not to showcase implementation complexity but rather to reduce the complexity of the user experience.


In summary, many new product developers fall into various traps when starting out. To avoid these pitfalls, it is best to concentrate on your target users and the specific challenges they face. Prioritize a few of these challenges to address in your initial product. It's important to establish a solid foundation for the primary workflows, launch quickly, and remain open to feedback and iteration. By following these suggestions, you can successfully launch your product and continue to improve it based on input from your target users and the market.

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