When creating a new digital product, it’s easy to get carried away and build a bloated features list that prevents it from doing its intended task. It’s a common problem that many companies run into because oftentimes teams are not aligned and don’t see the bigger picture and goal. Idea Bloom’s Feature Generation & Prioritisation workshop can help your organisation refine and rank features by building consensus on what functions to create and prioritise. By doing this workshop, companies won’t end up with a useless, full of air app or website.
Generate and prioritise product features overview
- Client interviews – identify the core idea of the product.
- User research & persona generation – develop an accurate picture of the ideal customer.
- Market research – discover the best ideas from competing products or companies.
- Goal list – write down 3 most important goals that we want our product to do.
- Functionality table – identify the main problems the user has, followed by ideas of how these issues can be solved. We also add other random ideas and concerns that are not listed.
- Priority matrix – place the list of ideas or functionalities on a two-axis high/low value/effort graph.
- Next steps for the project…
And here’s a juicier description of what the Feature Generation & Prioritisation workshop entails.
1. Client interviews (That’s you!)
So you probably have an idea for an amazing feature that can help solve a problem. This idea is based on your own intuition and experience but you haven’t done an extensive investigation. We’re sure you’ve googled and read a couple of mind-blowing articles or the latest UX book by some guru with a 90s goatee. That’s all good and we applaud your effort, but it takes a lil bit more than that.
We won’t go into idea generation in this article because that’s a different story for another day. Right now we’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you have your shit together and know exactly what you’d like to do with your product. The super knowledgeable and nice chaps at Idea Bloom will have a lil chat with you and note down your ideas and what you want to achieve. It’s important to keep in mind that some of the best ideas can happen when least expected. They don’t alway take place during a workshop. The light-bulb moment can happen while you are singing in the shower or taking a walk.
2. User interviews
Once we have identified the core idea for a product, it has to be backed up and justified with something solid. This is where the brilliant user research comes in. We like to keep this phase fairly lean so we can progress onto more important steps of idea generation and testing. In our extensive experience, we’ve found it’s more effective to get your ideas down and tested rather than dwelling too long on the research phase. Not that it’s not important, we just don’t want to fall into a bottomless rabbit hole trap of overthinking.
Here are some mind-blowing benefits of user interviews:
- In-depth insights of the problem
- Help emphasise with the user
- Uncover hidden issues
- Provide a base for future discussions
Once we have identified the user’s problems and goals, we’ll use this information to help build the functionality list. This list will be intuition and research-based.
3. Market research
The goal of this phase is to understand how other companies resolve problems we’re trying to solve.
- What are the smart things our competitors are doing that we’d like to emulate or improve upon?
- Learn mistakes are our competitors making
- What opportunities are there within the market?
It’s important to not get too sidetracked in this phase too. There is always another product you could research and become obsessed with. It’s best to focus on 3-5 companies.
The Actual ‘How to Generate and Prioritise Product Features’ workshop!
4. Goal list
Now that we have a solid understanding of what the client wants to achieve, conducted competitor market research and gained insights into the user’s problems, we can write a simple 3 point goal list. This list is deliberately short to help us focus on what we want to achieve. It’s far too easy to get distracted and overwhelmed with tons of features and lose sight of what we want our product to do. This list is the north star that will help guide us when we start to get distracted by adding new functionalities. These goals should be strongly aligned with helping the user resolve their problems and simultaneously help the business.
5. Generating the product feature list
Now we’re ready for the good stuff and start thinking of all the functions we want our product to do using a simple 3 column system. In the first column we will write down the user’s problems. In the next column, called “How Might We”, we’ll write questions to help reframe the problem. And in the last column we will add the functionality ideas to resolve these problems. For this part, we’re not too worried about quality, let’s just call it idea diarrhoea generation where everybody vomits as many ideas as possible. With this beautiful visual we can move on to the next phase where we’ll start to separate the wheat from the chaff.
How to generate and prioritise product features
6. Feature priority matrix
Remember how we talked about separating the chaff from the wheat? Well, now let’s focus on some juicy wheat kernels and start prioritising the list of functionalities.
Using a two axes high/low value/effort graph, we will place the ideas and functionalities into an appropriate box. The functionalities in the high value / low effort quadrant should definitely be added to our product. The functionalities in the high value / high effort quadrant should also be added to the product but some more thought should go into how and when. We will place the rest of the ideas floating around the graph into a box labelled ‘recycling,’ which never really happens because in reality this box will be sent to Turkey to be burnt. (Note to self, we must try harder to recycle our Idea Bloom office waste)
Functionality prioritisation chart
This prioritisation matrix is really useful at the start of a project when everyone is a part of the workshop. As time goes on, it’s helpful to have a more dynamic list of functionalities. That’s why we use a super helpful tool called Notion to automatically organise the functionalities list based on effort and value. We can also change the order by adding our own priority number. Sometimes a functionality may be complex to achieve and has high value but we want to give it priority over another task that is also high value but has low effort, ranking it higher on the list.
The Notion table is also useful when deciding what to add to the backlog when working in sprints.
You can further sort the chosen functionalities into groups in an exercise known as card sorting. This will give you a general idea of what sections you will have.
What to do after you’ve figured out how to generate and prioritise product features
Once you have your functionality list ironed out, the next steps are to create a user journey, sketch out the screens needed for this journey and then test them. Testing is one of the most useful things you can do in the design process. This is a hands-on exercise where you learn a lot more about how customers are using your product rather than doing endless research. It’s the biggest bang for buck you can get in terms of improving your design.
Sadly, this is where this sassy ‘How to generate and prioritise product features’ blog post ends and we have to say good-bye, but hopefully not forever. If your organisation is looking for a unique brand or UX workshops, give us a shout, we have a plethora of unique in-person or online courses. If you don’t see a workshop that meets your needs, James, our fearless founder, can create a customised one with his eyes closed.