In technology product management, it is easy to get tempted by the fashionable trends of the season. Today it is features related to “Big Data“, earlier it was “Web 2.0 Features or SLATES” and the latest trend is to add mobility features and access to your offering.
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 buying customer and his product reviews that are the key to gaining marketshare 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
So 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. I will address this in a future post.