Product Development October 4, 2020

Where do you find ideas for new features?

torakiki

We get feedbacks from the users and usually try to listen and understand their use case to implement new features but this looks too passive, just wait for the users to come to us.

What do you do to be more active and find use cases/features that you haven't thought before?

  1. 4

    You need to talk to your customers. They are the ultimate beneficiaries of your future features, so they will have to use and like them in order to continue using your product.

    Although talking to customers is a pain, there are ways to go about this:

    • you should read The Mom Test if you haven't already. It's always my top recommendation when someone asks about talking to their customers
    • you might find this article I published relevant. Podia's founder is notorious for the time he spends talking to customers and how these chats influence his roadmap.
  2. 3

    Speaking purely from the experience of Portabella:

    • dogfooding, I track all features and development on Portabella itself. Any pain points I have naturally become tasks to be fixed or implemented
    • looking at competitors, I have a lot of competitors I can look at and see how they do things or what I'm missing
    • user requests (you already mentioned)
    • long showers, sounds silly but ideas and fixes always come to me while standing in the shower 😅

    At work and in various startups I've done primarily group brainstorming sessions or sometimes tasks from higher up come down the pipe.

    The best thing is to be passionate about what you're building and hopefully ideas just come to you, it's OK if there are weeks/months between new features, you don't want to get bogged down and implement 10 things half arsed.

  3. 3

    I think it needs to be balanced, for example, a mixture of:

    • things your customers say/want
    • the trends and development of tech/world
    • what you as the founder have as a vision
  4. 2

    I'm also sure that talking to your users should be a primary source of new features. It really makes sense to start with MVP that has only core features and extend it with additional features that were requested by your early users. In that way your product will evolve to feature-rich thing that covers your target users' needs.

    I did a mistake when launching my website builder in early summer: picked "the best features" from the most popular website builders around and my plan was to have all these features in one place. But it seemed that my target customer (podcast niche) is not interested in just another "great website builder". There is a need for niche specific features, so after collecting early users feedback, I've rethinked, refactored and relaunched the whole thing and now the feedback is excellence if comparing with previous launch.

  5. 2

    One thing that has not been mentioned here: dig and read competitors app/websites reviews (especially the negative ones)!

    This is huge, as it reveals all the things that you might improve/add to your own app 😉
    This method is also really time-effective: no delay, no response to wait, and you get to know more of your competitors existence and weakness!

  6. 2

    I am at an early stage with DynaBlogger (https://www.dynablogger.com) so at the moment it's mostly dogfooding besides some early feedback. I am a blogger myself and I have been using the platform for a few months, so it's easier this way to figure out what's missing and things like that when I actually use it myself. I also keep an eye on communities like on Reddit etc where other bloggers complain of issues with Wordpress or other blogging platforms, so I try to avoid creating the same issues and keep things simple and focused. But so far since I am in the beginning it's mostly dogfooding I think.

  7. 1

    Normally the problem is too many ideas. Not how to get ideas.

    I would say that a core mistake for most product teams is to think the product constantly needs new features when most of the time you should be improving the current feature set.

    Ask yourself, what is the primary value gained from using my product? Is that working well?

    If it's not, then make it work well.

    If it is, then make it work better. And then make it work better again and again and again and again.

    Until it's literally the best possible experience for doing the thing that is valauble to your customers.

    If you do this, you will never need new ideas, your product wont get bloated and your customers will love you.

  8. 1

    Yes being close to customers is a must, and also from competitiors and online discussion articles.

  9. 1

    We welcome all feature requests so that's where a lot of ideas come from. In general a lot of prioritization and what we choose to build comes from the fact that we know our audience and that we use our product ourselves every day for the same purpose that our audience uses it for (to track our traffic and figure out what's working and what's not).

  10. 1

    Usually, you should have plenty of news ideas for your product. If that is not the case something ist odd, you really should consider talking to your users much more.

    With plenty of ideas floating around (again: this should be the case under normal circumstances) the real challenge is to choose the right idea/feature for implementing.

    I am building a tool to collect ideas and identify the most attractive one by voting. You can use this/similar tools or handle the backlog ranking manually, by sound judgement. But having too few ideas indicates you need to increase user engagement.

  11. 1

    You can find new features from your competitors. Look for forum discussions, press releases, and online articles

  12. 1

    One of the few interesting ideas generators is trying to "rethink" existing ones. Trying to mentally implement product "from scratch" might help to discover new ideas, that are usually ignored.

    Also decreasing time on some product's processes might help. For example, if it takes too long for the user to generate some report - that might be an area for new ideas, that decreases the time.

  13. 1

    The best founders maintain a close relationship with their customers

    Especially at the early stage (having <100 paying customers), you should continuously engage with your customers, ask to see them using your product, ask for their feedback, understand who, what demographics love your product the most, and from that identify features further add value to that demographics. Superhuman founder shared an amazing approach to go deeper into PMF, and identify new features. On the other side, you should actively engage with the community where your potential customers are, typically they will ask for help, share some thoughts, articles, which are cues for new features.

  14. 1

    I personally believe that moving with a sane pace is a good thing.

    I've worked as an Open Source Engineer for the last 4 years and what I learned is that once something is added it's almost impossible to take it away without people getting angry (even if they're not using it). Let alone the technical debt you adopt when implementing it in the first place.

    Maybe you can be a little bit more proactive and do active customer development wherein you invite them for a casual chat and talk about their current struggles and dreams with your software. Take notes and do interviews with a lot of customers. Look for patterns.

    Another plus is that you nurture your relationship with your customers that way.

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