Look for investment

The best product features are those that will be used. The best way to predict whether a feature will be used is if people are already investing in that area. Looking at existing features in competing products is the first place we tend to look. Many, many teams are simply trying to keep up with their competitor’s features.

But what about latent needs…the needs that your users have that are going unaddressed? This is where real innovation comes from…from identifying needs that other products aren’t handling well or at all. So we can dig deeper. Are people already investing money or time into solving this problem somehow? Are they spending time trying to come up with a solution? (maybe they’re cobbling together existing tools in a new way) Or, even better are they already spending money in that area to purchase or hire a solution? These are the indicators that they think the problem is worth solving.

If people say they have a problem but aren’t investing to solve it then it’s not really at the top of their priority list. You can probably skip over those problems when building your product. Instead, look for existing investment before adding that new product or feature.

Published: January 28th, 2014