“If a customer asked you why, how would you answer?” This is a question I’ve been asking a lot lately. Why could be “why does it work this way?” or “why can’t I do that?” or some variation on that theme.

I think your answer to those questions is a great way to measure your product. Are you happy with your answers? Are they fair answers? Are they clear answers? Would you be happy with the answer if you were the one asking the question?

The goal isn’t to get to “Yes” on every answer. The goal is to listen to your answer and ask yourself what it really means about how you approach product development.

If the answer is something like “well, because it was too hard for us to make it work the way it should” or “because we couldn’t figure it out” or “because we didn’t spend the time to think about the problem thoroughly enough” or “we just didn’t feel like putting in the work to make this easy for you” it may be a red flag.

Now, sometimes those are just truthful answers. Every decision involves a sacrifice. You may have had to sacrifice some thoroughness here so you could be more thorough there. But when answers like that pile up it’s worth looking yourself in the mirror and ask why you’re satisfied with answers like that.

This approach is especially helpful during product development, prior to launch, when many things are still in flux. This is the moment when you should be asking these questions repeatedly. The more you ask, the more you have to consider, and ultimately the better decisions you’ll end up making.