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More Features More Success?

Updated: May 9, 2023

We talk about if more features translate into success for products.

Having worked with many entrepreneurs over the years, i have always advised them that more features won’t make their product above the competition. It's the core value that it adds to a customer's business or life that will make it stand out or make a sale.


Whenever we are making a product, we should always ask ourselves.

“Why”

A key priority for every company should always be to focus on only the problems where the “Why” is strong. Why should we add this feature? is it really needed? Is the cost to develop this feature justified for the value it adds?


This question ideally should be answered using whatever data we have available, customer feedback before we continue development on it.


Even though it's important to prioritize features for companies at all stages as no company can afford to work on features or problems that are not needed. For companies that are at MVP stage or bootstrapping, it is even more critical as mistakes threaten the survival of business.



Does it Add value to the product?


As product creators, entrepreneurs, we should always remember that our goal is to solve a problem. We are in the business of adding value and if a certain problem is not creating value, we should drop it.


We should always keep a list of what problems we are trying to solve and use whatever data points we have to prioritize the set of problems. The problems that add the most value should be prioritized at the top.


Sometimes a certain feature can add value but the cost is too high. The solutions that give us the best return on time, investment and energy should be prioritized.



The Value of Feedback


There is an opportunity to take feedback at many places in a product life cycle.. At ondemandstartups, we encourage customers to even take feedback in the sales process. We ask customers during or after their sales process that if a certain problem we are solving will add value to their business. New leads often give very interesting insights about the problems they face in their current softwares.


In consumer products, the most suitable feedback time is during the design process. This works perfectly for b2b products as well. The designs can be shared with customers for feedback.

After the product launch, tools like hot-jar and google analytics can help you understand if users are using it as you expected or not. If not, sometimes it is also advisable to kill the feature and see if users notice something critical is missing.


While customer feedback is critical, it is not advisable to jump to developing a certain feature if customers are asking. It is always advisable to do a cost-benefit analysis and also if it matches your products core principles and its focus areas.


Simplicity vs Feature Rich


Having worked with both consumer products and business products over the years, one thing stands out that simplicity is very important. However, the concept of simplicity in consumer apps is slightly different from the business to business app.


E.g applications like dropbox, instagram, whatsapp became successful because they were very simple to use. These are all consumer oriented applications.


However, if you look at hubspot tools, zoho range of products, project management solutions, they are constantly adding new features and solving more problems for their customers. As they intend to provide more value to their customers in the same subscription amount or to upsell to the same customers.


Design is the Key


Technology is of immense importance. However, design is what makes the technology usable, sellable. Whenever you are on a new design, you should always ask questions like if this would make it more complicated, if it would increase the number of steps for user, what will get the best response from users?


With a great set of design, wireframing tools that are available today. Product owners should design the complete flow of the application and always put them in front of their customers/users to get their feedback or test the flow of the application.


Comparison with competition


If you are in an industry where customers compare your products with others before buying, you may need to add the features just to make sure you check all the list. One key thing you should still focus on is how to make that feature in a way that it adds value in the best way possible for your customer.


For example, if a competitor offers integration with dropbox or quickbooks, you may need to add that feature as it might be critical for your customers as well. However, you can always think how to make the integration better by offering them more control of how the data is exchanged between the two apps.


Do it yourself vs third party


Sometimes a certain problem may be very important for your customers. For example, users of your custom customer relationship management system may wish for payroll services to be included in their system.


In this case, you should ask if you want to get into solving that problem. Is it your core business to be in the payroll space? In such cases, you may be better off by allowing your customers to integrate with a third party app that they like the most instead of building that feature inside your own solution.


Success is Iterative


While we do all our efforts, it may be possible to have failures on certain features you did or added in your system. The key is to constantly check what works and what doesn’t work.

More features can become a success for you depending on what kind of product you are working on and how much initial analysis you did before adding every feature into the system.


Sometimes, more features can make a product more complicated to use and that should always be a key consideration for product designers to keep their products simple and easy to use.



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