01 March, 2022

How to ship features that impact your end-users?

Hellonext, Inc.

Karthik Kamalakannan

As product managers, it's our job to ensure the product that we build performs well and makes a difference in the lives of its users. According to a report by PwC, 86% of executives believe that their organizations must improve their product development and delivery capabilities to compete effectively.

So how do we ship features that impact our end-users? How do we gather feedback from our users to build what they want?

Product Roadmap

While some parts of our design process are universal, there's no one-size-fits-all solution for prioritizing what we build in our projects. It all depends on our goals and circumstances. So let's run through some everyday situations that we may find ourselves in, and then we can discuss how to prioritize each one.

The product roadmap defines how the project manager works with the team to determine the next build. It guides our decision-making process.

Our focus is always on the following points:

  1. What the problem is that we want to solve
  2. How our proposed solution solves the problem?
  3. What value does it bring to the end-user?
  4. Why this is important for our end-user

Why is creating an impact with shipping features essential for end-users?

Shipping features that impact our end-users is a top priority for companies. Features drive revenue, customer satisfaction, and the overall growth of our business. This is true for all SaaS companies with a subscription-based model or an eCommerce company selling physical goods or services.

But how do I know what features to build? Should I build them all? Is there a way to get ahead of the competition? What if our users don't want it?

There are so many questions and variables involved in shipping compelling features that it can be hard to know how to start. Fortunately, there are certain guidelines to follow to make the process more efficient, manageable, and successful for everyone involved.

As a product manager, our responsibility is in delivering products and features that will delight our end-users. The engineering team can only provide the product or element after being designed, implemented, and tested. The key to delivering impactful features is to involve the engineers in the discovery process. This is true for any product delivery, whether an MVP or a full-fledged product.

Product discovery process

The discovery process involves talking to customers and understanding their problems. The next step is to identify the best solution for the assessed problem. Once the solution has been identified, it is essential to validate if the chosen solution will work as expected.

During this entire process, our collaborative efforts with engineers must reach fruition to understand why this particular feature needs to be developed. I also need their input on whether it can be built and the best way of making it. It will, in turn, help us understand how much time they would require to create this particular feature and what level of effort will be required from their side.

This will help us prioritize new features and existing ones that need maintenance because now I know what our engineering team can deliver during a specific time frame.

Product Management Framework

The Product Management Framework is a way to assess the impact of potential features.

It helps us prioritize what we should build and in what order. It also helps us find out where we should focus our product management efforts.

The product impact framework consists of three dimensions:

  • Time impact: How long does it take to implement the feature?
  • User impact: How many users will benefit from the feature?
  • Revenue impact: How much money could be generated by this feature?

Together, these dimensions help us build a picture of the best features for our product. An Impact Framework is a tool used by product teams to analyze the impact of features on end-users and their business. It's used to prioritize a product backlog, determine what product features should be built first, and have a shared understanding of product goals across an organization.

User Feedback

It is essential for a product's success. Getting our customers to engage with us and our product, and provide feedback can be challenging. It's not just about getting their thoughts on the product - it's about getting them to take action and share their ideas with us.

User feedback or feature requests are usually handled in one of the 2 ways:

User Feedback Boards: A place where users can submit their feedback, upvote/downvote any other ideas, and see what is currently being worked on.

Feature Request Management: A place where the users can submit their ideas, but it's up to the engineering team to vet them, prioritize them, and decide which features should be shipped.

User feedback boards are a way for our users to "feel" like they're a part of the product development process. The benefit of this is that we can get better visibility into our users' wants.

Pro tip: What is a feedback board? Everything you need to know

The downside is that if we don't have a straightforward process for dealing with these requests, we might be committing to building something that adds little value to our product or, even worse, has a negative impact.

Feature Requests

They are a vital ingredient to any product that wants to be successful. They are the voice of our customers and the most valuable information we can get when it comes to building a successful product.

How do we define feature requests from users?

Feature requests could come from user feedback, social media mentions, support tickets, or product usage data. These requests could also be categorized into macro and micro-level feature requests.

Macro-level feature requests refer to our product vision's large initiatives and long-term objectives, whereas micro-level feature requests refer to minor improvements and bug fixes.

Micro-level feature requests can be handled using customer support software. Feature request management for macro-level feature requests needs much more effort and thought process.

Important Points to Remember

As a product manager at a SaaS company, we have to deal with a lot of user feedback on how to improve our product. While some are simple feature requests, others could be major releases that impact the entire development. Here's how I deal with them:

  1. Always keep track of our users' feedback - There are multiple ways to do this. Regardless of what we use, make sure it's accessible by all team members.
  2. Prioritize our features - Create a backlog and assign an importance score to each feature request. Prioritize based on customer need, business impact, and ease of implementation
  3. Only build the essential features - This might sound obvious, but when we see hundreds of requests piling up, it can get overwhelming to know where to start.
  4. Create a feature request board - Use tools like Trello or Jira for this purpose & schedule regular meetings (weekly/monthly) with the team to discuss the most important ones in that backlog.
  5. Find the most popular request-Drill down into specific use cases that the feature would help. Once we understand how it will be used, we should be able to come up with an approach for our feature (and know if it's worth building).
  6. Work cross-functionally - Product Management is not about being an island. We need to work with all different parts of the company.
  7. Don't forget about infrastructure-We can't build new features without having solid foundations in place first.
  8. Create a public roadmap - Make sure you're transparent about what features you're working on & when they'll be released so that your users can stay updated and even provide more feedback along the way!

Wrapping Up

We have covered the main topics and summarized them: User feedback can be a force of good. The most crucial factor is to make user requests visible. Then, you as a product owner can decide what to do with them. From feedback boards to product development frameworks, these tools help us ship features that impact our end-users.

Last updated: December 6th, 2022 at 10:08:37 AM GMT+0

Hellonext Blogpost Author Profile

Karthik Kamalakannan

Karthik is the Founder of Hellonext. He has helped prioritize customer feedback to build great products since 2006. Today, he helps product companies build data-informed products with Hellonext.

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