New product feature workflow [for dummies]

Not saying you are a dummy, but sometimes people don’t know where to start. This is where to start if you want to add a new feature to your already perfect product.

On my day-to-day, I work with internal and external teams and I consider this workflow to work with both cases.

Step 1: Determine the “what” you will be doing

As long as everyone is clear on what they are doing, then everything will be alright. It may seem pretty self-explanatory, but when going down to the nitty-gritty, it usually isn’t.

The main strategies that I follow are:

  1. ELI5 it! Write a story,  like you would be a 5-year-old, and explain what you want to do.
  2. Determine what are the core unique selling point for this new product feature or how it will actually help the core product.
  3. Define when it actually makes sense to introduce to the product workflow

One of the key strategies to write proper user stories is this approach:

I as a [person impacted] want to [do something] so that [it will benefit me this way]

If you follow the above-mentioned strategies, it is easily reachable to the next step

Step 2: Investigate the “how” you will achieve it

After you have determined what you will be doing, the next step is to determine how you would achieve this from the financial, operational,  sales, technical, or even regulatory perspective.

Leaving out the financial and regulatory, as I am assuming that you got the money and you have the right licenses, the core components to take into account are:

  1. A new feature means nothing if you can’t sell it. Plan the sales approach and also note down your financial plan regarding it, from how much you want to charge, to when you call this product successful or when you have to cut your losses.  
  2. Understand and plan the impact of this product on your operational plans. Sometimes a brand new product needs a lot of support for the end-users. Make sure that you have the right people trained correctly to handle it
  3. Determine what is the MVP of this feature and what you can ship with.
  4. Plan on how you will approach feedback from the real users

Note: Stopping you for a second as I want to talk about the MVP. Assuming that you are good to go, have another look at the feature set and get rid of more features! At this point, you do not know if it is actually what your clients want or need. Get a minimal version out and then add more functionality, please!

Step 3: Create a user workflow

Use a simple workflow-making software that will help you plot in a step-by-step how do you see the user workflow.

Here are some freemium alternatives which will do just fine.


Step 4: Review the technical concept

Assuming that this is a tech product, it is a good idea to get one of your technical leads/people or respective PM’s to have a look and be aware. Likely they will provide feedback, challenge your ideas and make recommendations on how to adjust the workflow

Step 5: Start creating the user interface

You will start with mockups first so it makes sense, and then invest the necessary time to get the user interface done and fully rolling.

The moment the user interface is clarified, your product feature is at this point ready to be given out to the technical department or the external development team to start refining and working on it.

I would expect a couple of iterations till you all agree and understand what needs to be done.