Key Findings

Standardized and consistent processes are key to Enterprise product team success
Over 50 percent of large product teams (50 people or more) cite “keeping roadmaps and processes consistent” as the number one growing pain.

Product investments are most often sourced directly from customer feedback
“Reviewing customer feature requests” is the number one source of actionable product ideas, according to product managers.

Product strategy is more often reactive than proactive
Approximately 52 percent of product managers say their product strategy is primarily influenced by requests from senior executives or direct customer feedback.

The feature factory persists as a major challenge for product organizations
54 percent of roadmaps are designed around outputs. Only 44 percent communicate outcomes.

Prioritization Methods

Prioritizing is one of the most critical skills of any organization. Especially when you have multiple stakeholders. Regardless of your preferred methodology, you should always tie significant initiatives to a business goal and be able to quantify the customer value. I prefer the Reach, Impact, Confidence, and Effort (RICE) methodology. If you are investigating a MVP or new product initiative KANO is in my opinion is worth exploring. For smaller UI/UX improvements stick with P-values and Confidence intervals.


Development Initiatives

It is essential to establish the type of initiative for your project early on. Initiatives guide you when setting stakeholder expectations, determining best processes/practices, preventing scope creep, delays, or wasting resources. 

In the vernacular of product development, most of these terms are well understood, except “Minimal Viable Product”. Some people commonly misinterpret a MVP as an initiative focused on well-groomed backlogs, and value-driven outcomes. The end goal of an MVP is rapid learning and risk mitigation, not a deployable product.

Minimal Viable Product (MVP) – In a Lean environment MVPs are focused on delivering a Kano prioritized roadmap. Typically aligned to business goals, used to assess Product/Market Fit and determine pricing before scaling your technology and marketing dollars. These initiatives may not be of production quality or made generally available.

Prototype – also commonly called a Proof-of-Concept is a preliminary model, wireframe design or implementation used to validate a hypothesis from which production-ready code is to be based on.

Parity Replacement – A product replacement typically due to quality, supply chain limitations, performance, capabilities, cost, capability obsolescence or manufacturer discontinuation. Do not assume that all feature functionality is still required or even desired. 

Update – A change made to fix a problem, satisfy a new need or reveal a new feature. Bug fixes, API/SDK updates, OS, DB, UX changes.

Upgrade – Adding new service tiers, altering the purchasing or onboarding experience, bundling, discounting, special programs, promotions, segmented customer feature sets typically delivered with feature switches, micro-services or identiy driven implementations.

New Release – Adding, changing or replacing functionality, reliability, performance characteristics, elements of the user experience, cost reductions, or integrations. 

Rework – Additional effort of redoing a process or activity that was incorrectly implemented in the first instance due to implementation errors, omissions, failures, changes, poor communications on a proposed solution.

Refactoring – Restructuring existing computer code, changing the factoring, without changing its external behavior. Refactoring is intended to improve the design, structure, performance and/or implementation of the software (its non-functional attributes), while preserving functionality.

Technology Transformation – integration of technology into an area of a business, fundamentally changing how you operate and deliver value to customers. It’s also a process or cultural change that requires continual challenge of the status quo, experiments, and getting comfortable with failure.

The Feature Factory

How do you recognize a feature factory?

  • Product releases are focused on sizes and colors.
  • Services and pricing focus on subscription bundling.
  • Marketing is focused on loyalty and rewards programs.
  • Business model is built on upgrade cycles and obsolescence.
  • Sustainability strategy is based on blitzscaling your way to a monopoly.

Here is a more nuanced view about the “12 Signs You’re Working in a Feature Factory” from John Cuttlefish’s blog.

Net Promoter Score

A basic measure of customer sentiment, is now used by two-thirds of the Fortune 1000. Subtracting the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters yields the Net Promoter Score, which can range from a low of -100 (if every customer is a Detractor) to a high of 100 (if every customer is a Promoter) you can calculate an earned advocacy score. It’s not just about chasing a number. Learn how segmenting customers can help you find meaningful micro-narratives.

Value Capture

Value Capture is the process of retaining some percentage of the value provided in every transaction. While we all focus on growth, few focus on value capture.

Capture StrategyValue Extraction Tactics
Price MechanismMarket Based
Volume Based
Demand Driven
Name Your Own
Price DynamicBundling
Professional Services
Free Shipping
Tax deductions
Capital Offset
Cost CarrierTrade
Tax Defferal
Partner Programs