Feature prioritization is a vital part of product development. Creating new features helps you to improve your product by satisfying customer needs and maintaining ahead of the competition. But it can be a deceptive operation.
Prioritizing features is a continual procedure in which product teams work with each other to ascertain which new features the team should focus on. The decisions reached need to consider market cost, time, competition, and resources available, including aligning business goals.
Few organizations fail as a result of a lack of good ideas. However, choosing the wrong design can sink your company faster than you can ever imagine.
Seven Dimensions of Feature Prioritization
Determining which feature product to prioritize is a balancing performance. You have to measure short-term growth with long-term growth, and then choose which will be the most advantageous. You also need to be attentive to everyone’s input and opinions. From the product developers, through the stakeholders, and then conclude on the best possible outcome.
To help you trust your decision, here are seven dimensions of feature prioritization.
#1 Estimated Gain or Profit
Profit is an important dimension to take to heart when choosing which features to prioritize. The primary mode of execution may be to concentrate on the feature that will cost your team little to develop than one that requires more. More so, the developing cost isn’t the only amount you want to look at.
For instance, below is a breakdown of two feature products:
Cost to build
A: $2,000,000 B: $10,000
A: $3,000,000 B: $100,000
A: $2,000,000 B: $90,000
Mainly looking at it, it is obvious that feature A can generate $3 million, so why would it not be prioritized over feature B, right? But if you do a little math on both features, you will find out that feature B gives you a better profit margin.
Another important factor of feature prioritization to put in mind is the amount it will cost to build a feature. Most times, the profit estimated is declared to be significant, then you would normally persist with building the feature. But there are some cases where a feature can be too expensive, and therefore, it doesn’t worth the stress.
#3 Resource availability
At the apex of costs, the availability of resources is a dimension that should be put in mind when prioritizing features. For example, development work, time, hour, and effort.
The following scenario explains this better:
Feature C has a duration time of 15weeks, and feature D will take ten weeks.
You presently have all your team members with you now, but don’t forget that the holiday season is fast approaching. Will you have the same amount of workforce available in 15 weeks? If yes, then maybe feature C could be a priority, but if no, then perhaps, feature D would be the one to concentrate on right now.
Meditating ahead can save you from any troubles or delays that could happen if you were to only have half your team on the ground in the last stage of development.
#4 Technical risk
Every prioritize feature has its own set of technical dangers. Things that may surface during development include added costs, delays, or a feature unknowingly affecting other aspects of your product in unforeseen ways. Ideally, you should measure in on each feature and concentrate on one that won’t add too much of a strain on your development team and process.
#5 Market risk
If you don’t have genuine profit numbers, you have to calculate the market risk. The market risk can show where a feature is on your priorities list. It is not unusual for features that have higher technical chances to have a reduce market risk.
#6 Team risk
There are several people involved in product development, and everyone wants to put their 2 cents in. This is why team risk is another dimension that requires to be put in mind when prioritizing features.
For example, developers may not take an idea decline too quickly if the reasons were not adequately explained. Other stakeholders may be baffled that their newest brilliant opinion cannot be developed into reality, due to critical technical reasons. This is the reason why issues related to the people working on the product can sometimes surpass technical risks.
#7 Team value
This refers to organizations testing out their products internally in a real-life situation to have a feel of how their clients would use it.
Instructing the team who produced the exact product to evaluate its value is a kind of quality control and excellent marketing. In the real sense, no one understands the product better than the one behind it. Therefore, if you asked everyone who is involved in what value they put on a potential new feature, it will enable you to know where to focus on and where not to.
4 Popular Feature Prioritization Frameworks
From the above, we have seen that feature prioritization can be a bit tricky. A remedy that can be given to having to measure unquantifiable elements like team effort and value. The following frameworks are intended to help lower uncertainty when it comes to prioritizing features and product improvements.
#1 Kano Model
This is a framework for product outgrowth that focuses on improving customer satisfaction. Often known as the Kano Model Analysis, its purpose is to enable you to ascertain which feature to build based on customer preferences.
This model was unfolded in the 1980s by Professor Noriaki Kano. Where he grouped customer preferences into five categories as follows:
Basic (“Quality is a must”)
These are requirements clients expected and always take for granted. Most times, it is only when one of these requirements stop working effectively that the end-users will detect they are even part of the product.
Performance (“one-way quality”)
The features grouped in the performance section are linked with the product’s job performance. They have a clear intention, and the better they execute, the more appeased the customer is.
Excitement (“Attractive quality”)
These are features that unknowingly pleasure customers as they don’t foretaste them being there. In other words, if they don’t work effectively, the clients are not overly united because they didn’t foresee them to be added at first.
Indifferent (“Indifferent quality”)
The features that are grouped in this category are those that customers feel lukewarm about. They are neither pleased nor displeased about their addition to the product.
Reverse (“Reverse quality”)
These are features that no matter how they strive to achieve them, customers are never pleased with them. They portray the fact that clients’ requirements are different from each other.
#2 MoSCoW Model
This is a prioritization method used in software development, but it’s also used in business analysis and project management.
This model is perfect for involving stakeholders in the product decision making procedure, and it tells the most top priority for them and your clients.
The acronym stands for Must have, Should have, Could have, and Won’t have, which are the four prioritization groupies. (The Os is included to make the acronym easy to memorize).
The features that are group in this category are essential to the product. The product can’t operate without them. The product can’t be unveiled without the presence of these features, making them most time-sensitive.
The second set of requirements is considered necessary but not time-sensitive. They can be as vital as Must-have features, but they can be discharged during another time box.
The Could have features that are more needed than they are important. They can better improve the customer experience; however, they are commonly given the green light if resources and time allow it.
These are the least features and requirements and can be attended to in future date instead of the current time box.
#3 Cost of Delay
This is a framework that enables product managers to make decisions due to urgency and value. You can base your decision on a diversity of things. However, the purpose of every business is to make a profit.
Measuring the cost of delay can assist with three critical factors in your decision-making process:
- It helps team members to work due to value and speed instead of efficiency and price which can sometimes spring up characters you don’t want.
- It summarizes the economic trade-offs to enable product managers to make more reasonable decisions. Making difficult decisions is among the process, especially when you need to balance many variables.
- It moves prioritization from prompting and strong-feeling to optimizing value by utilizing the Cost of Delay Divided by Duration (CD3).
#4 Rice Score Model
This is a method that can be used to measure priorities and ideas. The acronym Rice means Reach, Impact, Confidence, and Effort. Each of these will assist you with your evaluation.
Reach evaluates the number of persons it will impact at a specified time.
Impact shows the amount of influence your decision will have. This amount can be qualitative or quantitative.
If you are sure that the feature will be a precious asset to the product, however, you don’t have the information to back it up, then you can use the confidence to back up your argument.
How much work can your team do in a week or month? The more energy that is needed, the lesser the feature should be on your priority list.
The Process of Feature Prioritization
The process of prioritizing features look a bit different base on the side of development you are on: the development team side or the side of the product manager. Both sides need to work together to make the right decisions.
From the product manager’s side, their job is to guide the production process from start to finish. They must lead the development team, managing stakeholder and customer expectancies, and drafting strategic decisions to ensure an easy-going process.
On the development team’s side, developers and engineers will have their own opinion as to what they believe should be the next feature developed. But, their input isn’t too specific.
Significant Reasons why Product Manager and Development Team should come together:
- The product manager needs the perception and sixth sense of the people who build the features to produce the best possible outcome.
- The risk of viewing the product from an inward position is with the development team, which can result in ignoring the market value of a feature, even if it’s something the customer wants.
Developing a new feature can be enjoyable; however, if the prioritization process isn’t up to scratch, then it can result in a strain on the team and remove the fun out of development.
Final words on Feature Prioritization and Product Improvements
New features are impressive. You can brainstorm all the fantastic places your product could go, the positive results they could bring, plus what the best case outline is. However, as a product manager, you need the words of reality.
As you go through the process of prioritizing features into your product roadmap, never forget that your overall strategy and product roadmap often need to be front and center. Don’t lose concentration on the bigger vision by some awaken ideas. Long-term scheme always beats short-term rewards.
Be stationary and do well to live by the mantra of “less is more.” Prominent features can be as simple as significant risks if you don’t have the info and user research to back them up.
Fix time to constantly re-prioritize. Leadership needs changes. Businesses need new things. Even the market needs fresh ideas. However, of all the efforts you have put into prioritizing features, those priorities will change as time goes on. Make out time to go through your list over and over again and ensure everything is aligned with the bigger vision.
Considering the different dimensions of each featured product, and putting into effect a framework, plus measuring the process from various outlooks can make feature prioritization a more significant experience for everyone involved.