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Prioritizing Feature Requests
 

Prioritizing Feature Requests

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Prioritizing Feature Requests by

Prioritizing Feature Requests by
Fritz Mueller at SVPMA Monthly Event February 2001

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  • The how is more important than the what or you will have fights and confusion.
  • This formula actually helps because it helps keep everything in perspective.
  • There is confusion because there is so much info flowing in and everyone wants someone to make sense of it all.
  • This has to be first because everything starts with it.
  • 1 - This is an easy starting point. 2 – sometimes it is the dumb little things that make a sale. 3 – the never ending engineering project
  • What you do – must balance to some degree
  • Always watch the edges of the market place for some crazy new idea. Read the book “innovators dilemna” NetManage and the web browser
  • Examples: Why didn’t we just end up with a better DOS? That’s what happens if you just listen to customers Cars – why does someone buy a BMW, and stay with it. People are buying a lifestyle, not transportation The vocal minority are not always the right ones to follow
  • Something is wrong if you cannot decide. It should be fairly clear. “ You are not always right but you were never confused”
  • Your response to the confusion. Xerox ran into a market change, full service brokerages saw market change Novell ran into market size issue
  • This is the foundation you always need to return to. You can find yourself slowly deviating from these and suddenly you are lost.
  • The how is more important than the what or you will have fights and confusion.
  • You have to answer to different opinionated groups
  • How you defend your plan depends on who you are talking to. No plan is any good unless you can defend it.
  • The most difficult is senior management. You can’t be VP until you can answer these persuasively. Your answer can change every 3 months. Your answer cannot be the surface level answer to these questions.
  • This is the opposite of what most people imagine. Since the product manager is closer to this than the CEO you are in the best vantage point to drive corporate strategy.
  • Examples: Cars – why does someone buy a BMW, and stay with it. People are buying a lifestyle, not transportation The vocal minority are not always the right ones to follow

Prioritizing Feature Requests Prioritizing Feature Requests Presentation Transcript

  • Prioritizing FeaturesFritz MuellerDirector of Product Management
  • Prioritizing What gets done Gather Requirements Prioritize Write the Plan How it gets done Defending and selling the plan If you cannot defend the plan, the priorities will get changed. Fritz Mueller
  • PrioritizingThe Ideal – Do all positive Net PresentValue (NPV) projects.Reality – What rules do you use to decideon the tradeoffs Fritz Mueller
  • Sources of Input Customers Long Term New Fixes Technology Embattled CompetitorsSupport Prod. Mngr. Cool Engineering Features Sales Fritz Mueller
  • Rule #1 – Identify theCustomerIdentify the customer or else: You will only listen to the vocal customers You will define too broad a group of customers You will not solve anyones problems or needs Fritz Mueller
  • Rule #2 - Categorize Big Payoff Little Payoff Easy 1 2 Generates MomentumDifficult 3 X High Risk Fritz Mueller
  • Rule #3 - BalanceFrequent Customer RequestsPressCompetitive ResponseEngineering IdeasLong Term Architecture IssuesNew TechnologiesSupportDevelopment Costs Fritz Mueller
  • Optimal Balance You have to balance so what is the optimal balance? Most common requests Press Demo Features Competitive Response Lifecycle of Product Target Market Fritz Mueller
  • Rule #4 – Disruptive ChangeWhile you are refining the product someelse is redefining the space.Be the first to sound the alarm and state aresponse plan with a reasonable first step. Fritz Mueller
  • Customer Input Risks What customers ask for and buy are different Understand why do customers stay with you Technical vocal minority vs. silent majority Fritz Mueller
  • Causes of Confusion If you cannot decide on a plan then. Too diverse a customer set or not sure who the customer is. Not confident about defending the plan Market is changing You saturated the market Fritz Mueller
  • Handling Confusion If you cannot decide on a plan then. Too diverse a customer set. – split the line and segment the market or focus. Not confident about defending the plan – talk to more customers Market is changing – new product line needed or company must change You saturated the market – expand the definition of the market you are in. If you still cannot decide then the company may be in trouble and have no safe direction Fritz Mueller
  • Rule #5 –Don’t Forget theBasics Who is the customer? What do they value? Is the product consistent with the marketing plan? Is the product consistent with the corporate strategy? Don’t go into a market half way. Do go in one step at a time. (Honda) Fritz Mueller
  • Implementing the Plan The biggest problem is defending your plan because any plan you come up with will be questioned. Fritz Mueller
  • Rule #6 – Sell the PlanYou will never make everyone happy.Since not everyone is happy you need toconvince everyone that you have the bestpossible plan and any other plan would beworse. Fritz Mueller
  • Interested Parties Sales, CustomersSeniorMngmt. Eng. Prod. Mngr. Fritz Mueller
  • Selling the PlanSenior Management Q: Why are we doing …? A: Strategic answerSales Q: When do we get…? A: The most requested features are … and we are working on them.Engineering Statement: I am going to build… Response: Customers don’t want it or they won’t pay for it or it will take too long to build.Customer Q: Why should I care about…? A: It will solve a huge problem for you. Fritz Mueller
  • Senior ManagementThis is our customer…This is why they buy…This is where the market is going…This is why we will win…Therefore the product plan has thesefeatures… Fritz Mueller
  • From PM to CEOSuccessful corporate strategy Corporate Strategyis built from the bottom up. Product StrategyCustomer Requests Fritz Mueller
  • Summary #1 - Identify the Customer #2 - Categorize #3 - Balance #4 - Watch Disruptive Change #5 - Basics #6 - Sell the Plan Fritz Mueller