Critical Path

Pete Bernardo

One thing I consistently talk about with other founders is to focus on just the critical path. The critical path is the flow the user goes through to get to the aha moment. The goal is to keep polishing that flow until users can do it with very little friction.

Previously I have talked about my demo process glossing over key parts of my onboarding. I think it is key to be able to come back to crucial parts of your app and think about way to improve them. Often times we can get caught up with the hundreds of other things we think we need in our products but you forget to take that step back and ask if my core product flow is working.

Hard to see but commenting was happening before you marked what it was attached to.

For Punchlist, it was not. Originally I had built the tool so that you would leave a comment and then mark a spot. This is the core flow of the app, leave a comment on the part of the site that is not right. I would say early on with 80% of my sessions with potential users they would ask how they could mark a spot. For them the dot was the thing, that was what they wanted to drop on a page. Took me a few weeks to rearchitect my solution to start with the dot first. It was not a simple change based on the complexities of Punchlist.

It sounds small but it has made a massive difference, I don’t remember the last time someone asked me how to annotate a page. Sometimes you got to sweat the small stuff. I will definitely say to myself as I’m working “that is good enough, move on.” You have to, be being solo but for the critical parts of your product, it can’t be just good enough.

Obviously, there is a laundry list of things that could get better in any app but I find it really important to be able to take that step back and focus on the critical parts that are the linchpins for your product.