Business benefit and user value

These two are completely different aspects from different stakeholders. And product managers eventually need to make a well-balanced choice between them.

While making a product, your features will fall in to one of four categories (as depicted above). These categories come from a cross-section between two terms:

Business benefit — This adds value to your customers business; it either saves costs or creates revenue for them.

User value — This adds value to the end-user of the product; it makes the job of the end-user easier.

Looking at the quadrant, there is no doubt that all the high business benefit, high user value features in quadrant (1) will end up in the first product. And all the nice-to-haves (4) come last. But what happens in between? Too few user value (3) will hinder user acceptance, to few business benefits (2) will not convince the customer to buy.

Balancing features

Stakeholders like Sales reps and C-level management will always directly go for (2): It will make the sale… It’s also undeniable that not implementing (3) will increase returns or hurt future sales because of bad experiences with the product.

The trick is to make a balanced mix between features from both categories that lets the product manager satisfy all stakeholders sufficiently and at the same time.

How to balance these features? This varies per product. Consciously selecting features from both categories will definitely help your product get a higher acceptance in the short- and long-term. And if stakeholders of one of the quadrants asks why you’re ‘choosing for’ another quadrant, it might help if you can motivate while showing these quadrants.