There are many excuses for not getting feedback from users and customers:
- They'll steal our intellectual property
- They'll reject it if it's not perfect
- It takes too much effort and is too expensive
- (Secretly) We're afraid of being proved wrong
- If we talk to them, we may have to change what we're building, and it's too late for that.
- We don't have time
In our experience, the value of getting feedback from users far outweighs the risks and inconvenience.
As the graph from the Standish report highlighted in the eBook points out, 70% of software features that are built don't get used, either because they're not that important to the users, or because of inadequate design. At the same time, important features are often missed, or discovered late in testing.
To put it another way: You never get it right the first time. Frequent feedback from users lets you iteratively improve the product, starting with prototypes and moving through development, preventing wasted effort on unnecessary features and making the features you do build usable and effective (and reducing human factors risks in the bargain.)