Product Mgmt for newbies #4 – Start small / trim to the most imp. use-cases

When I first took up the PM role, my first assignment was to make my product stable & bug free. It was a B2B product being used for a high stakes client supposed to generate quite a bit of revenue and establish company’s reputation with the client and win more business & client for us.

Now stability, you might think, is engineering team’s role. But I wouldn’t say so.

Why do smart phones have more bugs, than the old simple feature phones ? Because smart phones have a lot of features. The more features, the more the complexity and thus more bugs are obvious.

I made a list of features my product had vs which ones were REALLY business critical in the MVP stage and trimmed out / cut down stuff that wasn’t critical at that point.

Ideally, one should decide the list of most important features by looking at product usage data and if thats not available, then try to prioritize the requirements you have understood by talking to your stakeholders ( including users of the product). Here is a really good article on feature audit by intercom.

After that ruthless trimming the product became a bit less complex and easier to change & manage. It took us 3 months of trimming, testing,  simplifying to get the product to a usable state.

After that, we added only those features, which were the most important and REALLY required for the user/business.  Sometimes, we mis-fired and added a complex feature which wasn’t used as much. Regretted that. But keeping a very close watch on number and nature of features you add is extremely important.

Don’t make  / keep your product complex to the point that it becomes very hard to manage or use.

There are several reasons why the Product backlogs are overflowing with features/ tasks / bugs.  This being one of them.

So while planning your roadmap / your MVP, learn to say no. Learn to argue. Go by data. Go rock !

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