The value of a feature



Information technology business is indeed a business.

This means it should create a revenue for the owner delivering products or services.

These products a compounded of features that you need select to deliver value.

The purpose of this post is to share my vision about how to select the right feature to implement at specific time.

What is a feature?

It can have may definitions like feature is a special characteristic of your product/service, something that gave identity to your product but my favorite is: a piece of functionality that adds value to your product.

This means your product became more competitive and it can be translated in more revenue.

Since agile methodologies are almost the standard to work, we should prioritize our items and select in what features are we are going to work.

Our main goal is add more value to our product adding more features but we should select them wisely to invest our resources in what is more valuable.

This are some questions that will help you to figure out how to select the items will translate your efforts in more value.

Do we really have time?

It’s one of the most valuable resources, sometimes we want introduce one fancy feature that really adds value to our product but it consumes a lot of time.

Here is when we should evaluate our death lines and look for other less risky features. Remember time is also a variable that can turn our success equation in something with bad results.

Do we have resources?

Yes, again our feature is something that adds value to our product, maybe you are working in an email advertising system, is working now but you want to add a fancy email editor that your clients will love.

That is ok but what about if you only have 3 developers working in something else.

Its always nice to have good and valuable features to add to your product but you must remain realistic according to your resources.

Is it valuable?

Maybe this should be our first question but since we already answered the last two maybe is more easy answer this.

How much value add to the product? Maybe improve the visual effects of your image uploader will give a special value over your industry competitors but what if the search image algorithm is not working as you expected, fancy things are nice but you must keep in mind the priorities.

Is it the right time?

At this time is valuable? Maybe you did it, you selected a feature that fits in the project schedule, is reachable with your resources and it adds value.

But what if is not the right time to develop it? Sometimes you need to hear your market and explore what are the features that your market wants.

You must collaborate with your product owner and the user experience team validate if its the correct time to launch a new feature.

Doing this kind of testing you can discover new features that your market is asking and you are not aware of it.

Remember your product is a living thing that must evolve.

Am I done with these four questions?

Obviously not sometimes you need to ask more, sometimes is more simple.

This are not rules or guidelines, these are questions that I am sharing because they help me to prioritize my items.

But again try to perceive your product as a living thing and keep thinking what is good for it.

That will help you to select what features are more valuable for it. 

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