Subscribe by Email

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Developing a list of features for current and future versions of the product - Part 9

This is a series of posts that detail the need for a product team to generate a list of features that can then be applied to the current and to the future versions of the product. Having a list of features that is comprehensive as possible is necessary to ensure that the product has the best chance to success. An important part of such an effort is to ensure that all possible sources of information regarding possible features that can make it into the product are obtained, for prioritization. This has been the focus of previous posts such as the last one (Developing a list of features for current and future versions of the product - Part 8). Since we had listed down a number of possible sources for features, we should start now trying to figure out some of the ways that this list of features can be prioritized for the current and future versions of the product.
So, how do we decide on how these features can be prioritized ? Well, the most important step is to decide on the kind of process used for documenting these features. Based on several teams and tools that I have been involved with, one of the most important conclusions that we came up with was to use the default tool that is used for feature collection to collect features for future versions, or to get it tweaked if the feature tool is not able to support features that will not be implemented in future versions. So, if you are using Scrum based development, ensure that the tool you are using for scrum is capturing all the features, and then you can start doing prioritizing and ordering of such features. Other teams have been comfortable using even a simple tool such as Microsoft Excel to capture the list of features and then additional columns to capture order, timeline and other such information needed for feature ordering.
Another important part of the overall process was about deciding the level of control over the tool and the process used for the same, which would also include the level of information required. In the process we had implemented, the Product Owner has overall authority and responsibility for the ordered feature list. As a part of that, there was a process (widely publicized to the team and to other stakeholders) where a new feature could be added to the overall list. At this time, it was also mentioned about the categories of information and the level of detail that was asked for, with some of this information being mandatory, and other information being on a good to have basis.
Once the information was added to this database, the process was that such information would be added to a new status called review. It was important to realize that unless any feature was approved by the Product Manager, the feature would not move into the prioritized list (although there was a weekly reminder to the Product Manager about ensuring that pending items were reviewed by the Product Owner). The Product Owner had the power to add additional people who were allowed to review the list along with the Product Owner (this was very useful when the list of such features was large, which was typically the case when the product was moving into a final stage of the schedule, or also when the Product Owner had sent out a request email asking people to enter details into the feature database).

This is turning out to be long, so will add more in the next post (Developing a list of features for current and future versions of the product - Part 10).

No comments:

Facebook activity