Buzzwords in your Product Feature Set


[Re-post, still relevant from 5 years ago]

In technology product management, it is easy to get tempted by the fashionable trends of the season. For web properties, it is features related to AI, Machine Learning and "Big Data", earlier it was "Web 2.0 Features or SLATES".

When such buzzwords become commonplace, the products promoted using this terminology, during sales pitches or marketing events also gain credibility in the eyes of the layman. However, the product manager should not be swayed by these fashionable feature sets. It is always the buyer, the influencers and their product reviews that are the key to gaining market share and increasing revenue.

Fundamentally, nothing has really changed. As a product manager, your vision and roadmap will contain features that are useful to woo customers to try, buy and keep using your products. And these features are either going to give you a competitive edge, retain existing customers, or attract users who are not yet using the products.

If these reasons attracted you to these fashionable features(and of course, the side benefits of tempting developers to build them out and of influencing senior management on thought leadership), then consider this blog post, that talks about the diffusion of innovation, and product adoption. I will leave you to understand the implications, but the key takeaways from this include:

a) Adoption rates of most consumer technologies in this century follow a similar curve

b) There is a real adoption chasm that exists in most product categories, beware that your product does not fall in that chasm

b) Innovative features take time to identify, design and develop

FashionSo how can you cater to the fashion sense of the day, and still follow the established strategic principles? That requires building consensus, and having a market research driven approach to identifying the best features for the various consumer or user segments.

In fact, gaining consensus on the product roadmap is a vital activity, and it takes a lot of time.

SaaS Product KPIs

For any SaaS business, you can track several metrics and ratios to see how your business is doing.  Similarly, over the entire sales funnel, and for client retention, you can track several product KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), which indicate how your product is accepted in the market. 

The image below depicts how product KPI are identified and tracked at various stages of the funnel.


This slide is useful if you are leading a product team, or are making the business case for a new product. For any business case, you have to identify the metrics as well as the quarterly and yearly targets. There are other metrics that may be useful for your market, however, the funnel should remain the same.

If you need the pptx version of the image, mail me, or drop a comment, I will reply back.