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Essential Checklists for product managers involved in feature development

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Feature Design Checklist

Designing features that are intuitive, easy to use and visually pleasing is a challenging task. There are so many aspects and scenarios to consider.

Sample Questions to be answered

Following are the questions that can be a part of this checklist:

  1. Hidden Knowledge: What prior knowledge/information are we assuming that the user would have? Are those being communicated well?
  2. Empty State: Do we need an empty state for first time users? How will it look? What CTAs (Call to actions) will it have?
  3. Failure State(s): What are the situations where the user can get unexpected results or fail to use the feature? How do those look? Can we offer a way out?
  4. Success State(s): How are we communicating that the user action was successful? Is that understandable?
  5. Waiting State (s): Does the user have to wait for the outcome after performing a certain action? How do we communicate this to avoid any anxiety on part of the user?
  6. Feature Discovery: How will the user come to know about this feature?
  7. Feature Onboarding: How will the first time users be guided while they try to use the feature?
  8. User Role(s) : Will the same UI be shown to different user roles? Or do we need different workflows?
  9. Repeat Usage: In case of repeat feature usage, do we need saved state(s)?

Edge Cases Checklist

The biggest challenge I face in timely feature delivery has been that unhandled corner cases continue to crop up one after another.

Sample questions to be answered

Following are some questions that can be a part of this checklist:

  1. Refresh: What happens if the user refreshes midway through the feature workflow? Does anything need to be saved? Does their state change?
  2. Internet Disconnection: What happens if the internet is disconnected midway through the feature workflow? What is the message shown?
  3. User Roles: Is the feature visible to all user roles? Will the UI change according to different user roles?
  4. Screen layouts and sizes: How do changes related to the screen layout affect the look and functioning of the feature?
  5. Affect on existing features: How does the feature affect other existing features of the platform? (I keep a list of 4–5 core features handy on which the impact of a new feature is always considered)
  6. Product/Platform specific use cases — Certain scenarios would be unique to the product you are working on. Make sure to incorporate them in your checklist. For example, for every new feature I need to check whether slow internet speed would need special handling.

Feature Launch Checklist

A product manager’s job doesn’t end at shipping a feature. All the hardwork done during development bears fruit only if the feature is marketed well.

Sample checklist items

Launching a feature involve multiple activities. These should be a part of the checklist so that you don’t miss out on any of them.

  1. Sales and support team training
  • Schedule a walkthrough explaining the feature and its value proposition.
  • Create an internal FAQ document to help answer customer queries.
  • Create a support center article which will help the customers know “how to use the feature”.
  • Create a 2–4 minute long video tutorial explaining the feature to the customers.
  • Spotlight the feature in your email newsletter.
  • Write an article explaining the value proposition and use cases of the feature.
  • Promote the feature on the social media channels.

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Vikram Goyal

Currently PM@Airmeet — building a kick-ass product for conducting remote events and conferences.