Lean Product Management - Avoid Wastage in the New Feature You Release
Deliver Minimum Viable Feature
As a Product Manager, you should not just focus on shipping features release after release. When you have limited development resources which would be most of the times, you should use them wisely. This will help you focus on the important features rather than shipping meaningless feature that would never be used. There will be lot of requests from the stakeholders -internal & external, be proactive in declining them with valid reasons. If you have any doubts refer to your Vision & Strategy and validate whether a feature request is inline with your Product — Vision & Strategy.
Sometimes the team works on a feature for almost a quarter and then the feature is not used by the users.
Reasons — The feature is not what the customer expected. The process built to get the outcome from the feature is more complicated than the current manual process the users are doing.
Outcome = Unhappy Customer, Unhappy Development team because they have to rework on it.
The team has almost spent a quarter working on a feature that is not desirable & viable, on top of that they need to rework on it.
Wastage = Unused Feature + Time [60 (working days) * 8 (hours) * 4 (resources: Development + QA team).]
Note: This is at a very high level. Hard Working teams work for more than 8 hours a day.
To avoid wastage:
- Deliver the feature in iterations. Plan for a minimum viable feature to be delivered in a month, get the feedback from the users and then enhance it if necessary.
- Understand the usage pattern of the users. Sometimes uploading & downloading excel the file is what works for the users to complete a simple workflow and not the complicated workflow that you build.
Deliver the minimum viable feature, the first cut version, replicating the current process so that the users will want to transition from the old process and to the new process because they want to. Then enhance the feature if the users want to.
Maybe the first cut version of the feature is enough & the users are happy with it. This way you may save the next 2 month worth of additional work that is not needed.
Outcome = The customer & users are happy. Development team is happy because the effort they put into this feature was worth it. They will feel motivated to work on the next feature.
More importantly, No Wastage !!
Deliver Features, the way the users want it and not because you think it would be cool to add a few more things in the feature. Customer Delight is a different topic altogether.
Product Management is finding a sweet spot between Desirability, Feasibility & Viability.