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December 29, 2021

GitHub: Healing "Papercuts" with Luke Hefson

Luke Hefson on People Driven Product Podcast

In this episode, GitHub’s Senior Product Manager, Luke Hefson, shares the importance of prioritizing fixes to the small, annoying “papercuts” within your product experience in order to maintain an engaged and loyal following.

About the Episode

When Luke Hefson, now Senior Product Manager, first joined the product team at GitHub he was curious, as most PMs are, about what users honest thoughts were on the product. So he tweeted a simple question asking GitHub users what, if anything, annoyed them about the product.

Unexpectedly, received hundreds of responses, retweets, and follow ups from the open-source web dev community. Almost all of the responses and requests they received through were not necessarily groundbreaking, innovative ideas – but “papercuts,” or small areas of friction within the user experience that were causing users large annoyance.

“These papercute are degrading to the overall experience, however typically difficult for companies to prioritize at a macro level,” explains Luke. This realization inspired the formation of GitHub’s dedicated “papercuts” team that focuses on maintaining an open, engaged feedback loop with customers and then working to prioritize and fix these annoying experiences.

“Your customers don’t care about your business strategy, they care about being heard and getting answers to the problems they experience everyday,” Luke says, this is why it’s important to establish a strong, easily accessible feedback loop with your users and take action on what you learn.

On this episode of People Driven Products, Luke deep dives into GitHub’s customer feedback loops and how his team synthesizes and prioritizes requests, specifically “papercuts,” in order to build a roadmap that balances short term wins with longer term innovation. He also shares advice on how to get executive approval on “papercut” projects that may not necessarily drive revenue, but will build customer loyalty.

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