Mastering Product Feature Prioritization: 3 Best Strategies to Consider

When you have a product idea and start building its backlog, it makes sense to pour all of your ideas into it. Even when the product is live, and you’re working on the next versions of it, your backlog is full of ideas, user requests, and team suggestions. If you have a project or product management background, prioritization would sound familiar to you. But what if not?

In this article, we’ll talk about 3 strategies for prioritizing your app’s features.

Get Ready with Product Analysis

Before you prioritize features, you should think about the purpose of your lifestyle application. Feature prioritization is about keeping only the functionality that will contribute to your application’s primary goal. It’s better to focus on a few key features than to try and build everything at once.

Planning the time and cost of prioritizing features is also crucial because it will help you decide which features are worth implementing right now. For example, if you have limited resources available, then it might make sense not to spend a lot of time creating something like an animated logo when there are more pressing issues that need resolving first like fixing bugs.

3 Best Strategies for Feature Prioritization in Lifestyle Mobile Apps

With many potential features to choose from and a diverse user base, it’s crucial to have a clear strategy for prioritizing features. Here are some of them that use can use:

1. Kano Model

The Kano Model is a theory of product development and customer satisfaction. You can imagine it as a two-dimensional graph with satisfaction on the Y-axis and functionality on the X-axis. Each category of features falls into different quadrants, so you can understand user impact too.

According to the Kano Model, there are five categories for customer preferences:

  • Basic features. The must-have features that users expect from the app. For a fitness app, a basic feature might be the ability to track workouts.
  • Performance features. The better these features perform, the higher the customer satisfaction. For example, the variety of meditation sessions available in a meditation app could be a performance feature.
  • Excitement features. These are the features that users are not expecting, but when present, lead to a significant increase in customer satisfaction. For instance, a personalized diet plan based on a user’s eating habits in a health app could be an excitement feature.
  • Indifferent features. They don’t affect customer satisfaction, whether present or not.
  • Reverse features. They can lead to dissatisfaction when present. Some users might not agree with them or find them unnecessary.

The strategy can be effectively applied to lifestyle applications to understand and prioritize features that will enhance user satisfaction.

2. RICE Method

The RICE Method is a popular feature prioritization framework. RICE stands for Reach, Impact, Confidence, and Effort. It provides a systematic approach to rank features based on these four factors:

  • Reach. The number of users who will be impacted by a feature.
  • Impact. It measures the effect a feature will have on an individual user. It’s usually rated on a scale from 0.25 (minimal impact) to 3 (massive impact).
  • Confidence. This factor is about how certain you are about your estimates. If you think your reach, impact, and effort estimates are spot-on, you might have 100% confidence. If you’re making a rough guess, your confidence might be lower.
  • Effort. It’s an estimate of the total amount of time a feature will take to implement. It includes everything from design and development to testing and deployment.

To calculate each feature’s value, we measure a feature according to its RICE characteristics. A RICE score is calculated using the formula: Reach x Impact x Confidence / Effort. The features with the highest RICE scores should be prioritized.

3. Story Mapping

Story mapping is a visual exercise that allows product teams to organize and prioritize the features of a product based on the user’s journey. It’s a strategy that can be particularly effective when applied to lifestyle mobile apps.

In a story map, user stories are arranged in a grid. The vertical axis represents the priority of the features, and the horizontal one represents the user’s journey or workflow. The top row, often referred to as the “backbone,” includes the most critical user tasks. Below each of these tasks, related subtasks or features are listed in order of priority.

Once the user’s journey is mapped out, the team can start identifying and prioritizing features. For example, a feature related to tracking workouts might be considered a high priority if it directly supports a key user task. Sharing workout results on social media, on the other hand, might be considered a lower-priority feature, as it’s not essential to the core functionality of the app.

Story mapping also encourages collaboration and discussion within the team. By visualizing the product’s features and their priorities, team members can have productive conversations about what features to develop next, and how they should be implemented to best support the user’s journey.

Get Ready for the Challenges

Product Feature Prioritization

If you’re considering prioritizing features in your lifestyle mobile app, you should be prepared for some challenges. We’re here to tell you how to avoid or overcome them:

User Needs and Expectations Compliance

The varying preferences can make prioritizing features quite a challenge. Comprehensive user research like surveys, interviews, and user testing can provide valuable insights into user behavior, needs, and pain points. For example, surveys provide quantitative data on user preferences, interviews offer qualitative insights into user motivations, and user testing reveals real-time user interaction with your app.

Technical Compatibility

Some features may require complex integrations, the use of third-party APIs, or a significant allocation of development resources. It can make them challenging to implement and prioritize. It’s essential to involve your development team early in the prioritization process. They can provide valuable insights into the technical complexity and feasibility of different features.

Compliance with Market Trends

The market is a living entity, constantly evolving and changing, and so are user preferences. Some of the ways you can ensure that your app continues to stay relevant and meets the needs of your users are by regular data and competitor analysis and leveraging user feedback.

How to Understand Which Strategy for Product Feature Prioritization Is the Best?

There is no single right way of prioritizing features. It requires a blend of strategies, careful analysis, and constant adjustments. The key to creating a successful lifestyle app is to equip it with the features that will deliver the most value to users and contribute to its success.

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