User-centered product development has been the mantra of the tech industry for decades. While I’d argue most companies still fail to fully implement this approach, others have been wildly successful with it. Think Amazon, Apple, or Airbnb (and that’s just the As).

However, their success shows us the downsides of solely focusing on the user. If the user is the measure of all things, others who will be impacted by a product — like society or the planet — may be forgotten.

That’s why I believe user-centered product development is no longer fit for purpose. …

Building successful digital products requires two things: building the right product, and building the product right.

The former is ‘product discovery’ and the latter is ‘product delivery’, according to product guru Marty Cagan.

Product discovery is about defining what to build to solve a customer problem and generate a positive business outcome. Done well, it mitigates the risk of developing the wrong thing. Product delivery is then the process of building the thing as fast as possible and to a high standard. A winning product team needs to master and balance both discovery and delivery.

While this is nothing new…

Some years ago, when I had just started my first management position, I attended a leadership training seminar called ‘Self-Leadership Backbone’.

Despite the word ‘self’ in the title, and as a freshly baked rookie in leadership and management, I entered the seminar expecting to learn about methods and tools to lead and manage others. This is what I thought good leadership was all about: motivating and coordinating others. How wrong I was!

Peter Drucker — one of the most influential thinkers on management — said: “You cannot manage other people unless you manage yourself first.” The seminar I attended really…

Watching the Netflix documentary about Bill Gates, one quote from his mother struck me:

“Each one of us has to start out with developing his or her own definition of success. And when we have these specific expectations of ourselves, we are more likely to live up to them. Ultimately it’s not what you get or even what you give. It’s what you become.” (Mary Gates)

From my point of view, as a manager, it’s not only crucial to develop your own definition of success. Your job is to understand and help form the respective success definitions of each of…

“While organizations recognize the importance of onboarding, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are getting it right.” (Human Resource Executive)

Following my article on recruiting, with this article, I aim to convince start-up managers to devote sufficient time to designing and executing onboarding procedures. I will share my failures, learnings, and successes in the art of cultivating new team members. The insights I share are a reflection on my first 3 years in a management role at the high-tech start-up NavVis. In the highly dynamic environment of a fast-growing B2B start-up, I built and led a Customer Experience Team of up…

Until some years ago, my stereotypical picture of a manager was that of a mid-40 old man who had done the job that the people in his team were doing for quite a while. He was an expert in the field. I assumed that management required a certain level of experience — a role you grow into throughout your career — and a certain level of expertise in the field you were managing in.

This picture radically changed some years ago when I started working for the high-tech start-up NavVis and became a manager myself. Today, I don’t consider age…

A lot has been written about how to integrate digital touchpoints into a traditional, offline customer journey — e.g. how offline resellers can create a multichannel experience for their customers. In this article, I would like to approach this question from the opposite direction: How can B2B software companies turn their by nature mainly digital journey into a multichannel experience? I will try to answer this question by describing how we at NavVis have developed a customer journey with a great variety of human, tactile and digital touchpoints and what we have learned along the way.

Let’s start with the…

Sophia Höfling

Head of Product @Babbel, former Head of CX @NavVis. Enthusiastic and writing about product, life-centered design, & leadership.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store