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Friday, March 1, 2013

Developing a list of features for current and future versions of the product - Part 1

A product is only as good as the features it has (and of course, dependent on the quality of the features it has). So, the next big question is about which are the features that you need to put in the product, and where do you source these features. Once these features are sourced, these features are then evaluated on the basis of importance and need, it is determined which of these features will be available in the next release of the product, the requirements for these features are detailed, there is approval of management for these features, the effort estimate for these features are developed, and they are taken through the development and testing stages, and then the product is finally released.
One of the most important aspects of all this is to develop a list of features. Having the right set of features is critical for a product.
- If you have features that a customer wants, then you have every chance of developing a very successful product.
- At the same time, the set of features that you have should be better than those that your competitor has.
- The features you have in your product should be usable, the workflows should ensure that your customers fine them easy to use and not have to struggle through the implementation of these features.
- Providing the right set of features in a product means that when there are reviews of your products published, those reviews will need to have some set of features to showcase in the review. Actually, when these products are being shown to the reviewers, you better have a nice set of features else the review could turn out to be harmful for your product.
- Implementing too many features in a product can be too much of a good thing. It can make the product unwieldy, where users are not able to determine which of the features are useful to them, and the chances of getting lost are increased.
- You should ensure that you leave enough features for the next version of the product; generating useful features for a new version of the product is not an easy task.
- The Product Manager should solicit features from everybody and anybody. The customers, the marketing people, the people in customer support, the development team, the testing team, all of them have expertise with the features of the product, and can suggest some features that may be lacking, or which the implementation may not be as user friendly or comprehensive as you would have liked, and inputs you are getting from all these stakeholders can be such that the Product Manager would not have been able to generate on their own.

Most inputs on this topic in the next post (developing a list of features for the product - Part 2 - TBD)

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