Good Feature vs Good Product

Good features don’t always deserve to be in your product - an opinionated summary.

Vision

What you create should be governed by what you’re trying to achieve. If you don’t have clarity of vision and a belief in its viability then it’s unlikely that whatever you build will succeed.

When you don’t know where you’re going, any road looks good.

You need that “greater purpose” defined for feature planning. Most features seem like a good idea in isolation but how do they relate to the vision? Do they really help or enhance the experience for the user on their journey? If the answer is no then don’t add it, even if you consider it the best feature ever conceived.

Timing

When you ship matters as much as what you ship. Over time the market moves, user’s expectations change, and what would’ve been earth shattering 3 months ago is now a fad. (Snapchat/Msqrd 3D augmentations anyone?)

Your launch should ideally be aligned as closely as possible to where the market has begun to realise the value in the offering without having moved on to considering it passé.

The scope of a minimum viable product grows the longer it takes to ship.
Image from The Time Value of Shipping by @brandonmchu

User Perception

En masse, generally, users don’t actually care if your product has the nicest UI, best local caching solution, or quickest servers. 😱

They care about what it adds to their life, the “superpower”. Sometimes that can be a simple as making an existing “superpower” more efficient.

People Don’t Buy Products, They Buy Better Versions of Themselves
From Buffer’s Blog

This can be the trickiest one, sometimes the product resulting from your vision has allowed users to give themselves a “superpower” you didn’t anticipate. This can put you at an awkward crossroads where-by you need to decide if the users are perceiving value you missed or vice versa.

Conclusion

That’s (some of) why “good” ideas don’t necessarily make successful products.

There’s obviously a lot more depth than I’ve gone into here, if you’re interested then I encourage you to read the articles I’ve linked to in each section and everything by Julie Zhuo.