Focus Users

Release Tilt first to an initial set of Focus Users so you can give them a great experience.

A Narrow Set of Users is Easier to Support

It can be tempting to introduce Tilt to everyone on your team at once. But it’s risky:

  • Overwhelming support burden as users report many unrelated issues that leaves everyone unsatisfied.
  • Unclear direction after you send an announcement and only get radio silence.
  • Deceptive confidence when an initial uptake of users hides that 80% of target users don’t get it.

It’s more reliable to choose Focus Users that you’ll partner with to give a great Tilt experience. Focus is easier to support:

  • Filter out long tail issues so you don’t have to solve everything immediately.
  • Clear next steps because you know which users you can expect feedback from.
  • Validate applicability because 5 of 6 users is more compelling than 5 of 50.

How to Pick Focus Users

Here are some guidelines for picking the first set of Focus Users:

  • 3-8 people. A size where you can have a casual meeting.
  • Work on the same project.
  • Mix of seniority and work style.
  • Would use Tilt several times a week (e.g. not a manager who does one PR a quarter)

How To Focus

Talk to the Focus Users at the start and agree on how you’ll work. Something like:

  • Focus User will try to use Tilt for their work. They’ll report issues via bugs/slack/etc. and try fixes within a week.
  • DevEx (you) will prioritize Focus User feedback over other Tilt users. You’ll track individuals’ specific blockers.
  • Regular (weekly/biweekly) check-in to get more feedback. Whether a meeting or just a reminder in Slack, Having time on the calendar prompts Focus Users to not let Tilt trial languish.


Use this if

  • you’ve realized Tilt is good for your team and want to show it to others
  • you’ve shared Tilt with your team but don’t know of anyone else using it and don’t know what to do next.

Skip this if

  • there are devs outside DevEx already using Tilt

You know it’s successful when you always know how to drive Tilt roll out because you have your goal and a channel to achieve it. Goal: get the rest of the Focus Users adopted. Channel: Focus Users who will evaluate changes quickly.