Feature requests that don’t suck

Gabrielle Bufrem
3 min readAug 27, 2019

TLDR Feature requests normally suck but can be powerful if done right. Get a feature request template that works here.

The motivation for sharing this:

Feature requests are overwhelming, distracting, and formatted in a way that makes them unusable, but they will never cease to happen and can be powerful if done correctly.

I recently implemented a feature request process that has made my life so much easier. The core differentiator of this approach from others that I have used in the past is that:
- I am very deliberate about asking requesters to do research and to describe core aspects that, as a product manager, I use to prioritize
- I added the request process to a workflow that I already do so that I am optimizing for impact with the least disruption to my schedule

Feature Requests that Work:

Feel free to make it your own and adapt to your needs!

  1. Type of request: describe if this a one-off feature or a series of features
  2. Who is requesting this: identify themselves and their team so that you can easily follow up with them.
  3. Describe the problem that the user has: add the problem that the user has. This is key for you to differentiate between people that have deeply thought about what problem this will solve for users versus those that are just in love with their idea.
  4. Describe the impact that this has on the user: articulate how solving this problem will make your user’s life better. You can add impact categories that matter to you to ensure consistency.
  5. Describe the reach of this problem: requester will describe how many users will be positively impacted or leverage this feature.
  6. Describe the cost of not doing this request: describe the problems that would occur if this need was not addressed. To ensure consistency add categories that matter to your business such as “increased support costs” or “risk of losing customers”
  7. Describe which business goals this helps: enumerate your company’s product/business goals and ask the requester to tie the ask to it
  8. Describe the evidence that you have on the need for this request: validation of user problem and desired outcome
  9. Describe if you have any ideas on how we may solve this: give the requester the space to help and suggest ideas
  10. Describe how urgent this is and why: give the requester the space to give insight into the urgency of this issue and why

My Gift to You

Here is a template I put together. Copy it, make it your own, and streamline your feature request process!

Want to learn with me how to do it? I’m launching a Cohort Based Class where we’ll work together live with a group of peers learning prioritization and solving your prioritization problems! I’m super excited for it. Interested? Join the waitlist here!

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Gabrielle Bufrem

Product coach and advisor. I love speaking and writing about product, and I train PMs through Mind the Product. More at https://www.gabriellebufrem.com/