New features can mean the difference between your product being a ‘must have’ and a ‘nothing special’. They can also be an expensive mistake that leave your customers yearning for the simplicity of your previous user experience. What’s a product manager to do?
To help you navigate this difficult terrain, we’ve brought together 6 articles that will help you turn feature requests from your team and customers into business dynamite.
New features can be business dynamite - but only if you build the right ones.
1. Does your software product really need new features?
This article is a good one to start with. Does your product actually need new features? Would you get a higher return on investment (ROI) from other improvements such as more marketing, better onboarding, a major pivot in terms of business direction, bug fixes and simpler usability.
2. Featuritis vs. the Happy User Peak
This was written a while back but is a classic. Why are you building new features? If the answer is ‘fear’ – fear of falling behind competitors and of not giving customers everything they ask for then think again. “Be the ‘I Rule’ product, not the ‘This thing I bought does everything, but I suck!’ product.”
3. Beware of feature overload (a case study)
You probably get the idea by now that adding features without sufficient thought can be the death of a previously decent product. Customers want features they actually need – not the hypothetical ability to do everything while in reality managing to do pretty much nothing useful (apart from switching to your simpler competitor). This article talks you through how one company learnt to build features that led to business growth.
4. Deciding what features to implement
Okay, you know you do need new features. You need them for the right reasons: because they will drive growth. So how do you decide what features to implement? This article will help you prioritise what features to build by looking at costs, ease of implementation, your strategic vision, what your customers say, and by ignoring your competitors.
5. How to track and manage feature requests
You’ve realised that your team and customers may actually be helpful. Not always in the way they think but still. You need to hear from them, prioritise what they say, and respond in a useful and visible way. However, managing feedback is a pain. You might resort to creating spreadsheets. Or at best have a go with Trello, or Jira. None of these solutions are ideal. So try a feedback board.
6. Host a product design dinner party
If you want to interact with real people rather than your computer all day then give this one a go. Host a product design party. You get team members and customers together and encourage everyone to pitch and then vote on ideas (a bit like a feedback board really, but with drink and nibbles).