How to Excel At Feature Prioritization

Feb 7, 2023Martín Etchegoyen

A question that is asked abundantly these last times is what is feature prioritization. Feature prioritization is planning out the order of features your team works on, based on your product roadmap. It is key to prioritize features because you have limited time and money and too many potential features. Sitting down and figuring out which features to work on and at what point of your schedule is necessary to prevent delays and a poorly executed product.

There are many ways to approach feature prioritization, but regardless of approach, product managers should be able to prioritize features based on the overall product strategy. In other words, no one should ever lose sight of their own goal.

Feature Prioritization

Product managers are constantly hearing feature requests from all kinds of stakeholders and also keeping a close eye on the competition. One potential danger is that the product manager begins to listen to the strongest stakeholder or focuses only on matching competitors’ features. In both cases, the product manager loses sight of the product strategy and risks releasing a sub-par product, which ends up being counterproductive.

Another significant thing to consider with feature prioritization is that it is not set in stone. As you begin building the product and gathering customer insights from tests or interviews, there may be instances where it makes more sense to pivot from the initial product strategy. The key is that your strategy is always defined so you know what to prioritize at any point in time. Some tools can help design your product strategy, helping you to learn to what degree each feature is replaceable, which is a matter of life and death. At the same time, it is essential not to lose focus on our product's indispensable features. In this article, you will learn the basic things about how to excel at feature prioritization so you can carry out the process just fine.

4 Strategies for Feature Prioritization

In this section, we will cover the process of feature prioritization that is recommendable you follow along. Before thinking about features, or getting into what prioritization frameworks you should use, you must analyze your target audience's primary needs to satisfy them. Product managers need to rewire their approach to make the customer needs' the core of their proposal and their product roadmap. After all, this customer-centric approach permeates technology product management nowadays and virtually every step of 21st-century companies, no matter what industry they belong to. It should not be different when discussing potential features.

Feature Prioritization

1. Product Analysis

Here are the aspects to consider in product analysis and some questions to ask yourself that work as a guide.

First of all, you have awareness. What does the discovery flow look like? Can potential customers find you through Google, social ads, and review sites? How is the messaging: is it consistent or confusing? Secondly, you have purchased. What is encouraging prospects to purchase or discouraging them?

In third place, there is loyalty. What is the average length of time that a customer stays with a company before leaving? Is there a referral process in place? Can users get additional features or priority support? Then, it is considered. What questions would a customer have? Are there any objections or challenges that would arise? What motivations do we think they have when they decide to sign up And, finally, you have the service. How is the overall in-product experience? How does your onboarding process look? Is there help available at any time?

2. The Kano Model

This prioritization system is divided into five categories that put order to the analysis and definitive strategy.

a. Performance

These are the sort of features that do not come with the original product deal. For instance, this could be a beautiful color palette selection with a nice font, which not only contributes to creating an eye-catching design but contributes to UX by preventing user mistakes when navigating it. Small details such as this will contribute to getting our users to spend more time using our product.

b. Threshold

These are features that customers expect, and while they might not be dazzled by them, it would be unsatisfactory not to have them. A clear example of this is a search bar to find products on e-commerce sites.

c. Reverse

These features can be related to lower quality or performance and could decrease satisfaction levels. Intrusive advertising is one of the main attributes in this category, among others.

d. Excitement

These are the crucial features that increase the product's edge, distinguishing it from the competition. By researching other products in the market, product managers can set the product strategy to build better features such as easier registration, faster service, or improved customer communication channels.

e. Indifferent

These are features that customers cannot decide if they think are good or bad. A good example of this would be changing your logo. It might generate some opinions but will not have any major effect on the functionality.

3. Priority Scorecard

With this specific method, any product manager and their team can quantify each feature's priority by designing their categories. Along with the other members of your team, define each category and assign them a symbolic weight. Now you can provide 100 points by type to each meeting participant. After a discussion to make sure everybody is on the same page, they can start assigning their points and prioritizing features.

One effective tip is to create different categories for product teams and technical teams and analyze the same feature list classifying them based on that scorecard. That will help your feature prioritization process, which will be more likely to provide easy features that can have an impact on customers.

4. Opportunity Scoring

This feature prioritization sheds light on features that users consider both important and undeveloped. Opportunity scoring is a great way to detect new opportunities while reducing risks, thanks to heavily relying on user feedback.

If a feature is regarded as of high importance but low satisfaction, teams should improve it. On the contrary, if a feature receives a low score in both satisfaction and importance, it can be left and move the creative efforts elsewhere. And lastly, if users consider a feature booth satisfactory and important, management can prioritize new ways of improving the ROI by stepping up the innovation related to this feature.

Bottom Line

With this insight on feature prioritization, now you can go through it knowing the importance of it when succeeding in your business line and how to do prioritization in the right way.

Martín Etchegoyen

Martín Etchegoyen

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