End User: Definition & Role

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Bob Bruner

Bob is a software professional with 24 years in the industry. He has a bachelor's degree in Geology, and also has extensive experience in the Oil and Gas industry.

An end user provides valuable feedback regarding issues and enhancements related to a product's delivery. In this lesson we review the end user's role in the development process. Updated: 08/02/2021

Gathering Feedback

If you created a new software app, you would probably show it to a few of your friends before you published it in order to get valuable feedback on how it looked and worked. Once it was published, you would quickly start to receive ratings from users, along with comments that might help you decide how to best move forward on improving your product.

But what if you were working on a team in a larger organization creating a large, complex delivery? How would you go about getting this kind of real-world feedback from actual users of the software? This is exactly where the end user fits in product development.

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  • 0:04 Gathering Feedback
  • 0:40 End User Function
  • 2:24 End User Obligations
  • 3:34 Other Feedback Loops
  • 5:10 Lesson Summary
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End User Function

The end user is the term used for those people who actually use a product, often on a constant or regular basis, as part of their own job. End users are hands-on customers who work directly with various products and tools in order to deliver on the business goals of their own organization. Because they work so closely with the product, the end user is considered to be one of the best sources of information regarding how well a product actually functions and how much value it provides.

One of the key values that end users provide is that they typically do not have prior knowledge about any of the assumptions that go into creating a product and often encounter defects or flaws not previously recognized by the development team. As end users are often looking for innovative ways to solve problems using existing software and tools, they also have a good understanding of enhancements that can be made to increase the overall value of the products they're using.

There are a few functional roles on a development team that can approximate that of the end user. Product owners who are intended to be the voice of the customer are often the aggregators of end user feedback. While this feedback loop gives the product owner valuable insight into the end user experience, product owners are often focused on expanding future deliveries and sales and not on existing products.

Similarly, documentation, user experience, and quality assurance staff will all occasionally function in a limited end user role. However, these team members can only serve as proxies for a true user, as they do not typically use the software in a real-world scenario on a regular basis, as the end user does.

End User Obligations

A knowledgeable end user will be conscientious in their use of the product. By this we mean that the user should try to use the software or tool in a manner that does not purposefully cause it to break. If problems do arise, then the end user should take time to fully explore any documentation resources that are available, in order to try and resolve the issue prior to reporting it as a defect.

If the user is running into problems that they cannot solve on their own or with the help of other knowledgeable users, they should take advantage of any customer support functions that are provided along with the product. Typically these contacts will be in the form of online knowledge bases, chat, phone calls, or emails made directly to customer support representatives.

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