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Expanding your MVP’s Features

by | Oct 17, 2020 | Validation

So you’ve launched your MVP and it’s working like you expected. You’re satisfying a need for your users, collecting tons of data and analytics, and likely generating some revenue. How do you capitalize to get the most of this data and your early-stage traction? If you have dedicated users for your product, they are likely willing to provide feedback and suggestions for improvement. As the requests come in, you might find yourself with an overwhelmingly long list of features and bugs. It can be hard to determine which features make the most sense to include from a business or tech perspective.

Similarly to how you determined what goes in to your MVP in this post (Who, or What, is the MVP?), you will need to rank the features. One of the most important pieces to consider at this phase is your users’ feedback. These are a few major criteria you can use to determine the priority of a feature or bug:

1. To bug-fix or not to bug-fix?

Imagine calling a plumber to fix the hot water, but they start installing a new kitchen sink. Your users feel the same way when they see new features added before major bugs are fixed. It is possible to let some bugs go for a bit. But bugs tend to take away much more than most new features would add in terms of usability and quality. A good rule of thumb, is to push bug fixes requested by multiple users to the top of the to-do list.

2. Listen to your users

Keep listening to what your users want. Its one of the main reasons to develop and launch an MVP. At first, you might receive hundreds of requests for new features to your product. At this point, you need to use your intuition and your vision for the product to start hand-picking some features with real potential.

3. Do a cost-benefit analysis

Adding new features will always take both time and money. It’s important to determine the relationship between the cost to develop the feature, and the value it will bring to your users. For example, if dozens of users are requesting a chat feature in your app, you can assume it will provide them value. The next step is to work with your software team to determine the cost to implement this in-demand feature.

Its often best to prioritize your backlog of features with the most inexpensive and user-valued features first. This will keep your software team rolling out the features your users want to see in the most cost-effective manner. 

4. Listen to the market

As a product owner, you will need to stay in tune with market trends. Being in touch with what is happening in your market allows you to quickly pivot your product to accommodate new trends. It makes it easier to recognize opportunities in adjacent markets as well. Features that will draw in new users to your product are likely as important as accommodating the existing users’ requests.

5. Don’t forget to make money

When you satisfy a need for an engaged user base, they are likely willing to pay for your product. Adding features that help to expand your pricing tiers could help you break through your revenue goals. The following questions are great to ask when planning the next major grouping of features.

Does this potential set of features enable me to create a new premium tier for my product?

Does this new feature provide enough value to the users to justify increasing the product’s current price?

And some software products have millions of dedicated users and never charge them a penny. So if you’ve accumulated a user base that isn’t quite ready to pay for your offering, you may want to consider alternate monetization. The next features you want to roll-out may include integrating advertising or an affiliate program.

At this stage of development, its a great time to invest in organizing a product backlog. Managing a product backlog in collaboration with your software team, is the best way to keep new features flowing to your users. And ideally, you want to be updating your product as often as every two weeks. This keeps your current users satisfied and engaged, and entices new users to come aboard.

Listening to and addressing the feedback from your users, in a timely manner, is a major key to success when launching a software product of any kind. 

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