20-point guide to help you prioritize features

If you are a Product Manager or Founder of a software product you need to make sure you take efforts to evaluate the following factors before deciding to develop a feature.

Business side implications

  1. Additional revenue
  2. Retention of customers
  3. PR/Marketing opportunity
  4. Positioning and competitive advantage
  5. Timing
  6. Business partnership obligations

It is the most hardest part of evaluation as mostly you will have to go with your hunch than with stats in hand. A prospect who is a decision maker with budget that assured you of business can turn you down later for a host of valid reasons and the same can ambiguity exists with your quest to trump your competition with a feature. Here it all depends upon how much of calculated risks you want to assume to invest on that feature.

Advantages for the user

  1. Operational Efficiency
  2. Aesthetic score
  3. User experience
  4. Simplicity
  5. Share-ability
  6. Tangible benefits
  7. Desirability
  8. Smartness

You need a mindset that is as critical and demanding as the most toughest user you have ever had. When you approach the usability side of your features with such a character you can solve this conundrum. These user factors are more likely to create the “WOW!” factor, that a complex workflow you have solved may not achieve.

Product considerations

  1. Alignment with product goals and vision
  2. Impact areas and workflows analyzed
  3. Long term value of feature
  4. Alignment with product partner roadmap
  5. Emerging design and technology best practices

YES! YOU NEED A VISION. You just cannot develop each and every feature that your sales team and customers want.

Development considerations

  1. Effort to develop
  2. Technology expertise
  3. Performance
  4. Platform support

Here is where all the practicalities behind the implementation of your feature rests with. Your R&D team should evaluate their strengths, expertise and experience to help you set the right expectations with stakeholders. Things that are ambiguous in this step will let you down later.

Also to think

On top of all the above factors and considerations, you should understand which of the above take the greatest priority and weightage in comparison to others, while making a decision. If your hunch says there is enough money left on the table and the feature is closely aligned to your goals, you might just want to go ahead with the development and decide to fix all other things later.

You would also need to understand what is the opportunity in hand and what is just your dream for the product. You might want to choose between the two when prioritizing tasks.

A simple rule of thumb to keep you in the game

With so many factors to consider and with lot of ambiguity, make sure you start small with a stripped down version that delivers the core of the feature and extend further deep with user feedback.