Product Audit

When your product isn’t...product-ing.

“Our product isn’t converting at the rate we expect and we don’t know why.”
Animation of a woman with blonde hair dramatically screaming into the abyss.
Figure A: Stressed woman yells as your product spirals toward a black hole.

If the above quote sounds familiar, then you know just how frustrating it can be to create a product that doesn’t meet your (and your user’s) expectations (See Figure A).

Product Audits are like functional medicine diagnostics for your product.

I holistically analyze the root cause and provide a sustainable system with the exact steps you need to take to improve the core problem, whether that’s retention, onboarding, and anything else in-between.

Read through to understand the Purpose, Methodology, and Expectations of a User Space Craft Product Audit.

Please! Fix My Product ✨

Product Audit: Purpose

🔵 What is a Product Audit?

Product Audits are a meticulous examination of a product, from the business down to specific flows. When done well, they holistically examine how seemingly unrelated parts of a business impact your core SaaS product and its goals.

🔵 Why conduct a Product Audit?

Product Audits are helpful when you’re experiencing an assortment of issues with your SaaS product but are unsure how to solve them.

Ideally, Product Audits provide fresh eyes and deep expertise that can offer new perspectives and unexpected solutions.

🔵 Who conducts Product Audits?

Anyone can conduct a Product Audit. I’ve seen everything ranging from entire teams to individuals running them.

As a UX and Product Consultant with over 20 years of experience, I work solo, but I have built a holistic methodology for Product Audits that leaves no stone unturned.

🔵 How long does a Product Audit take?

On average, User Space Craft Product Audits are completed in 8–12 weeks. But please note, every product is unique; your product’s audit may take longer, depending on the complexity.

🔵 What do I get out of the Product Audit when it’s complete?

You’ll receive a comprehensive deck and a time-stamped walk-through video (and transcript) detailing discoveries and issues found and clear action steps.

In addition to providing insight into your product, think of the deck as a tool for sharing institutional knowledge with current and future employees/contractors.

Product Audit: Methodology

🔵 What’s the structure of a User Space Craft Product Audit?

A User Space Craft Product Audit is divided into five parts:

  1. Introduction: Prepares readers to understand what a User Space Craft Product Audit contains, including Purpose, Methodology, and Expectations.
  2. Research: Examines business history (origins, funding, goals, people, culture), product history (verticals, pivots, user research, user interviews), interactions (marketing, press, social media, customer care), competition, and organizational maturity.
  3. Review: Dives into the product and documents findings related to onboarding, core product flows, and offboarding.

    Across the flows, I record what is and isn’t working regarding information architecture, the critical path, patterns, accessibility, and language.
  4. Recommendations: Guide you through taking action on critical issues in Research and Review.

    Four categories comprise this section: Themes (motifs found at least twice in Review), Opportunities (areas that require immediate attention), Directives (detailed action steps on how to resolve Opportunities), and Summary (high-level view of Review, and what you’ll need to execute changes).
  5. Resources: Provide a collection of citations, a glossary of Product and UX terms, and an index to navigate the audit documentation.

    Depending on the discoveries found in Research and Review, additional resources may include design artifacts such as Personas, Journey Maps, Stories (User, Job, and UX), Design Backlogs, or Product Specifications.

    If a design artifact is relevant to the success of taking your product to the next level, I’ll include it.

🔵 How do you conduct a User Space Craft Product Audit?

I often begin with publicly available research related to the product and organization.

Eventually, I conduct interviews with team members and customers to understand better the company, its culture, and how it impacts the core product. Collaboration is critical, so you’ll notice me observing, asking questions, and requesting feedback early in the audit.

After I wrap Research, I move into the primarily independent work of Review.

After Review, I move on to Recommendations, where I balance independent work (writing the recommendations) with collaboration (seeking your feedback).

Finally, I conclude with Resources, which brings me back to independent work. At the Product Audit’s completion, I provide a deck and a walk-through video. I can also present findings live.

Product Audit: Expectations

🔵 How should I use the Product Audit document?

Please think of the Product Audit deck as a comprehensive look at how your product exists worldwide and the story it tells. The overview of your product is essential to consider as you move forward—as you grow, you’ll encounter new challenges, but there are core issues you’ll want to ensure you don’t repeat.

If you’d like to focus on the more prescriptive, then Review and Recommendations are your best bet. If you find yourself stuck, use the Index in the Glossary to find your way around.

As you resolve critical issues, the design artifacts in Recommendations will be a great starting place for guided execution.

🔵 Will you provide tactical support to help us execute design or product Recommendations?

I do not provide tactical support to execute any Recommendations, but you can hire me on an Advisory Retainer after the Product Audit’s engagement conclusion.

Retainers can be customized, so don’t be afraid to ask—I’ll work with you to get to where you want to go.