How to set priorities in product development

Edited excerpt from Prioritize Product Development by the Four Stages of Use by Ben Yoskowitz:

When prioritizing feature development I like to think of a product in four pieces. These are actually the steps a user goes through during their lifecycle with your product (listed in reverse). Think of your product less in terms of features and more in terms of the experience you’re trying to provide from start to finish:

1. Ongoing Engagement: How do you make sure users get continuous value from your product? How do you make sure they return? Make sure your product is sticky and prioritize features that will drive usage. Early on most of your prioritization should be around increasing usage (DAU, WAU, MAU) and to a lesser extent decreasing churn.

2. First User Experience: What do you want people doing as soon as they start using your product? How can you get people to an “Aha!” moment quickly? Think of the first user experience as separate from onboarding. Onboarding gets people through the door; the first user experience gets them doing something important/valuable once they’re in. Prioritize the first user experience early and learn as quickly as you can what your best users are doing in your product.

3. Onboarding: How can you get people signed up? Where is the friction in your sign up process that you can eliminate?

4. Marketing/Growth: How do you get users to your product? How do you get them to the front door? Product development and prioritization at this stage may not touch the core product itself, but it’s critical to the company’s success.

Try focusing on one of these at a time and not spreading yourself too thin. Get your whole team aligned on the key problem you’re trying to solve. Let people go deep into one of these areas and give them the freedom to brainstorm all over the place.

3 thoughts on “How to set priorities in product development

  1. Pingback: The three steps to building a great company, and why most startups fail on the first step | A Founder's Notebook

  2. Pingback: Cosmetic changes to your product won’t fix low user engagement and retention | A Founder's Notebook

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