The Best Ways To Prioritize Your Product Features

In any endeavor to transform an idea into a product, there is a disciplined process that provides a framework for success. The system made famous by the Lean Startup Methodology is one such outline. However, this doesn’t address the defining features of your product design.

Startups and product development teams make compromises when they develop apps and prioritize the features they intend to include. The first choices will be what to include in your initial offering - your minimum viable product (MVP). A simple question at first, it becomes much more complicated as you design features in detail.

Listening To Customers And Quantitative Analysis

Develop a framework for scoring your list of features. There is no one catch all solution for weighting factors; you can use such things as relative development investment, time to develop, or any other source of value unique to your product.

The one thing that must determine the priority of your feature choices is the feedback you receive from market testing and voice of customer (VoC) research. Market research tells you the wants of your market in response to your direct interrogation. VoC takes market research beyond the realm of what customers know they want, to proactively suggest more innovative features and gather the responses as data.

Once you have created a weighted list of priority for features, you do not have to follow it rigidly. When your intuition tells you to go with a feature rated lower than others, you can do that. Intuition is a valuable tool if you use it critically. If you have the resources, further market testing and research can provide critical feedback as your development phase progresses.

Themes For A Development Framework Of Abstract Factors

Themes provide frameworks that act as scaffolding to assign features to the right projects. You may not be able to express some aspects of your proposed features quantitatively. Stylistic elements and themes that group features by functionality don’t resolve in numbers easily; they are too abstract.

To prioritize the more abstract objectives of your product features, list them as themes that relate to your ideas, intentions, and the scope of your business model. Group themes according to practicalities such as the resources they consume and where you can leverage assets to deliver multiple features for the price of one.

Integrate Projects Into The Framework

Whatever factors you choose to include in your prioritization process the MVP should only include those that will attract the maximum traffic or revenue according to your objectives. Traffic is precious because it brings in data, and you can ultimately monetize your findings as your product matures.

However, you may require cash revenue more quickly than that, and this pressing need will dominate all other considerations. The priority must be to create a schedule by which to roll out features that turn your business idea and model into a product most efficiently.

Which features to include and when to add them is a decision that requires judgment, insight, and careful planning. The product features that create the maximum return on equity (ROE) and return on investment (ROI) for your investors have to be your guiding principle. When you break the process down to match the priority of features to the projects to implement them through a framework of themes, you will maximize your chances of success and find the return that you seek.

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