But at Hotjar, we know that product management is anything but straightforward, which is why we asked our own product managers about product workflow.

More specifically, product workflow red flags and how to avoid them:

18 product workflow red flags

1. Outdated team models

For example, you can use Session Recordings to gain empathy by seeing users’ behavior on your website.

Benefit: focus the product management team on the customer first-and-foremost, rather than focusing on self-serving concerns like hitting deadlines or achieving goals.

2. Too much focus on big roadmap items

Solution: adopt a cascading vision (rather than a growth obsession) to give your team the chance to create products that meet your users' needs every step of the way.

Ask yourself, “what can we deliver right now that fits with the spirit and goals of this work?” Better yet, use Incoming Feedback to ask your users what roadblocks they face in the moment.

Benefit: close the customer feedback loop and give your team early validation of ideas.

3. Not measuring the right places

Problem: if you aren’t collecting and measuring data in the right places, you’re missing out on experimentation insight from your users.

Solution: usually, the right places to track measurement are the highest-risk areas where impact counts most. Effective measurement in these areas will help your team avoid burnout.

Benefit: get valuable and relevant insights to make a better product for your users.

4. Poor internal communication

Red-flag-05.jpg

5. Too much information makes it challenging to know where to start

Problem: information overload makes it difficult for you and your team to identify the best place to start.

Solution: focus on key metrics and areas of usage tracking to track your product as it scales.

Benefit: an effective and focused delivery.

6. Aligning too much with the school of thought that product is only about the problem

Problem: product managers need to focus on their users’ problems, but hyper-focusing on one problem prevents you from seeing the big picture. You could miss other issues your users face and, in turn, miss important solutions.

Solution: distance yourself from the problems, look to validate them, and discover solutions’ feasibility.

Benefit: know exactly where you need to spend your time and effort, reduce expensive solutions, and improve focus.

7. Relying on A/B tests

Red-flag-07.jpg

Benefit: get a complete picture of the user journey, understand pain points in your UX, and identify solutions you need to implement.

8. Too much focus on 'cool apps' and 'flashy tech'

Problem: if you’re too focused on flashy product features rather than what the user actually needs, you’ll end up designing products that won’t benefit your user (and won't sell).

Solution: learn how to interpret user feedback and ask yourself if you’re spending enough time providing solutions for the right problems. Otherwise, you may just be following the trends without delivering real value for your users.

Benefit: focus on building a product that translates into more business value

9. Too much obsession with the product

Problem: you may find yourself (or people on your team) too emotionally attached to the product. When this happens, the product’s build obstructs what really matters: how your users feel.

Solution: avoid becoming attached to your products by making small changes where there’s no significant cost to dispose of them. Validate your ideas—through prototypes and wireframes—before building them, even during early user tests.

Benefit: become a more well-rounded PM and function more effectively.

10. You feel like you don’t have enough impact in your role

Red-flag-10.jpg

11. Too much focus on data

Problem: numbers don’t tell a complete story. If you and your team choose to rely on analytics and other data, you’ll miss out on crucial information that numbers might not tell you—like how your users feel.

Solution: speak with your users. A round of customer interviews is an invaluable (and often underused) process. You can also use Hotjar’s Surveys and Incoming Feedback to collect valuable customer insight.

Benefit: create better products by taking a step back from the data, speaking with customers, and using your intuition.

12. Trying to make too many instant improvements

Problem: your team is trying to implement every improvement at the same time.

Solution: adopt a 'cost of delay' analysis within your workflow. A 'cost of delay' analysis assigns a dollar value to any delays, which helps you understand which changes are needed right now and which ones can wait.

Benefit: make a greater impact through logical and informed decisions.

13. Too many ideas

Red-flag-13.jpg

14. Stuck in the product research space

Problem: becoming too focused on product research prevents you from implementing changes and moving forward.

Solution: to move forward from product research, read about other topics that are related to your products.

Benefit: a more well-rounded understanding of your product's value to your users will help you make more user-centric decisions.

15. Using historical data to determine current product

scroll-map.jpg

Comparing past and present heatmaps helps you see how product usage is changing.

Benefit: pay more attention to users’ pain points and understand which areas need more improvement.

16. Lacking business goals and focus

Problem: if you don’t know where to focus, you may not be aligned with business goals.

Solution: set clear product goals with measurable results that align with business goals.

Benefit: improved prioritization and delivery.

17. Not enough focus time

Problem: when your team doesn’t get enough time to focus, their work can become reactive.

Solution: allow for team collaboration and a structure that lays the groundwork for making informed decisions. Think about how your product interacts with other products.

Benefit: an environment that supports a proactive approach where you can make informed decisions.

18. Preaching (but not practicing) a user-centric approach

Red-flag-18.jpg

Benefit: a genuine user-centric approach to your product delivers better experiences for your users.

Improve your product workflow

At Hotjar, we continually improve our tools to give you a smarter and deeper analysis of your users.

Hotjar's tools help you avoid these product workflow red flags by giving you a way to collect data, speak directly with your users, and understand what’s happening on your website (and why).

Start collecting user feedback with Hotjar

Sign up for a free Hotjar account and start asking your users what works for them (and doesn't) on your website.

how to collect and measure user feedback year round
What is product workflow?
How can you improve your product workflow?
What are examples of product workflow red flags?

Learn something new every month:
sign up to receive Hotjar content in your inbox.

Related content

Heatmaps, Recordings, Incoming Feedback, Surveys

Try Hotjar. It's free