Prioritize Your Product Features As Simple As Possible

If you are a one man business or a very small team of software developers, prioritizing the development of your product features should be as important as the features you consider to implement.

I would call this the 2 step method. A decisional framework that is simple and efficient.

Step 1. Consider the features your product might have

In this step, you combine three sources of information:

  • your existing customers’ wish
  • your competitors same-feature-usage (or the relevant ones)
  • your gut feeling

Your existing customers’ wish

Note down your customers’ wish, and evaluate them. The key is not to pay attention to what they are asking, but WHY they are asking it.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses. Henry Ford

Your competitors same-feature-usage (or the relevant ones)

Consider your competitors as being the friends you visit once in a while (if they are good friends, you might be visiting them more often).

If your competition has some features you do not have, investigate about them. Try to see stats about their usage.

Some tricks on how to determine the importance of your competition feature:

  • if they have a support forum, investigate their topics
    How often is their feature mentioned? This observation may help you in a way or another. People talk about the things they care about
  • investigate your competition’s product sales page
    Look for the benefits and the features. Can you find the benefit that resulted from the feature described in the first paragraph of the selling presentation? Is the feature present in the top 3-4-5 features promoted with the product? These are strong indications that the feature brings high value to the product
  • read your competition’s blog
    They might have mentioned about some A/B tests they have done regarding the feature, as a method to engage with their readers. Consider it a free research paper for your homework

Your gut feeling

There are times when no data can help you further in decisions or directions to be taken. When these times occur, learn to listen to your gut feeling. If you feel that a feature is not supported by data, but your gut feeling says there’s something important, you might want to give it a chance. The more you do it, the more you train it and make it more accurate.

Step 2. Prioritize the implementation of features

You have now a list of the features that you consider important to implement. You may now evaluate all the features by the following criteria.

Consider two characteristics when doing this: Business Value, Customer Value:

  • a clear Business Value example: implement a referral feature for your product
    It brings value to your business because you can grow faster when you turn your customers into salespeople. Great for your business, but low value from customer perspective
  • a clear Customer Value example: implement a tracking system o your email application that allows your customers see who are the people that opened the emails they sent through your app

From 1 to 10, give each of the two characteristics a mark. After this step, ask yourself: “At this time, is my business in need of Business Value or Customer Value?“. You need to consider now which is more important for your business, to provide more value with the product, or to increase your business value with the current product.

After you have given a mark to all your features, prioritize them either by Business Value, either by Customer Value. As the second dimension of sorting, sort them after the total of those fields.

After you complete this, you have a simple but powerful decision framework on which features to implement on your product at the current time. Let us know what you think and what benefits it brought to you. Subscribe to our newsletter for more ideas on how to grow your software business.

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