How to Successfully Build New Product Features?

Many times, product owners can be confused about when and how to launch new product features. They often struggle with understanding what makes a successful feature, how to prioritize upcoming features, all while keeping our end-user at the forefront of our minds.

With this article, we aim to clear out your confusion on what, why, and how of launching new product features. We will uncover how to transition the features from ideation to development and the market.

Start with the Ideation stage

The ideation stage is where we clarify our vision of the product. The underlying fundamental for this is to understand what problem you are solving. When you get the idea of the whole, we move on to a smaller section and focus on what features to be built. We begin by identifying the features which are a must-have in the product. Without these features, your product cannot solve the significant pain-points of the end-users.

At the ideation stage, the features are mostly hypothesis. Since those ideas and features are a solution to the problem, it has to be about the customer. It could be imaginative what if, but it has to be orthogonal to the issue you solve. It has to be cohesive to the problem you are solving.

How to move the feature out of the idea stage?

Once you have your hypothesis, talk around with your potential users to find out how crucial that feature is to them. By validating your assumptions, you are moving a step closer to launching a successful product feature. Prioritize the features based on that information and analyze if customers are willing to pay for it.

Build a landing page. Start finding the community around that. Talk to people. Spend some money on email marketing. Do everything that can help you understand the value of your product to the end-users. Even while you do not have the feature or product, imagine it and talk to customers. By collaborating with customers, you’re likely to build a defensible product.

You should also remember the mantra of “Release early as possible.” The period gap between validation and releasing the feature should be short for synthetic ideas. It gets difficult to move the direction later and in the more extended period gap.

How to prioritize product features?

We prioritize features as per the riskiest assumption. While secondary and tertiary ideas might sound fun, but the hypothesis of the primary idea must be true. Primary becomes the riskiest. So, we need to validate that first quickly.
Let’s take the example of Zoom. For Zoom, video conferencing is the primary feature, which becomes the riskiest assumption while screen share, gallery view are secondary. Once that fundamental assumption is validated, we move on to secondary assumptions.

To validate the video conferencing feature, you could use metrics like the number of people buying or using Zoom. We always prioritize the baseline features, which is going to be most relevant to users if the core is not useful than secondary features won’t matter.

Tip for alpha version validation

Pre-launch the alpha version for validation. If you can find an innovator, early adopters are also your target users, let them use the app for validation. They are consciously looking to solve the problem.

While validating the MVP, should you go through a single utility?

You should try for validating single utility i.e., how valuable an app is for a single user when others are not engaged in it. You can start by providing a free trial version, which can be better for one person. Then, it is easy to scale for multiple people. But make sure your free version reduces friction to try out for users.

Does the product feature’s effort size matter for prioritization?

The effort size for developing a feature doesn’t matter. It must be based on the value of users instead. It is possible to take 5 minutes to build features, but the value generated can be high.

Prioritizing Metrics

  • In idea stage: start with low effort, higher risk
  • Before the product market stage: high value with low effort
  • In Market: how scalable and valuable vs. effort required. Focus on scalability

In every stage, the prioritization other variables can add. But we use it like above.

Releasing often and validating the assumptions work for the users and the business. As you find product-market fit, it will be about smoothing the current features and optimize the workflow. Once, launched optimize the product rather than building a new feature.

To unpack more questions related to product development dive into our Product Podcast.

Product Management Podcast

Suja Manandhar

Suja Manandhar is a Business Development Officer at Leapfrog Technology Inc. She is an avid reader and loves to explore about the impacts technology creates in businesses.

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