Glossary

Product Features

Anish Jangra
Anish Jangra

What are Product Features?

Product features are specific functionalities, characteristics, or capabilities that a product offers to its users. They are the distinct components or aspects of a product that contribute to its overall value and provide solutions to users' needs or problems. Product features can include both tangible and intangible elements, such as software functionalities, hardware specifications, user interface components, performance metrics, and other attributes that enhance the user experience and differentiate the product in the market.

Product features are designed and developed to address user requirements, solve specific problems, and fulfill the objectives and goals of the product. They are an essential part of the product's value proposition and play a critical role in attracting and retaining customers and achieving success in the market.

Why is it important to define product features?

It's important to define product features because they are what makes your product unique, and they help you communicate the value of your product to your customers. They're also the primary way that you can segment your market and identify who should be buying your product.

Product features are the attributes of a product that distinguish it from other similar products in the same category. They are what makes it different from other products, and they're what give people the reason to buy yours over someone else's.

For example, if you were selling a shopping cart app for e-commerce businesses, one of your main product features might be the "ability to process payments through Stripe." This is what sets it apart from other shopping cart apps: not only does it allow you to take payments online through an easy interface, but it also makes sure those payments are processed smoothly through Stripe's payment processing service.

Another example: let's say you're selling a food delivery app where customers can order groceries online and have them delivered the next day. One of your main product features might be "fast delivery time." Fast delivery time is one way that this app stands out from others like Instacart or Amazon Fresh: customers know their groceries will be delivered quickly

How do incorporate features into the product roadmap?

When you're creating a product roadmap, it's important to think about how each feature will help your users. This can be especially tricky if you're building something that has multiple purposes or uses.

3 Things to consider when deciding what features to include in your product roadmap:

  • Value proposition: What problem does this solve? Why should someone use this? How does it make their lives better?

  • Target customer: Who will actually use this? What are their goals and pain points? Do they have any specific needs that need addressing?

  • Business goals: How will this feature help us grow our business? Does it align with our company mission statement?

Here are some tips to incorporate features into the product roadmap:

  1. Start by defining what makes your product stand out from other similar products on the market. What is it that makes customers want to choose yours over others? Is it the price? The quality? The convenience? Your company's reputation? Make sure that whatever it is, it's something that matters to people and makes them want to buy from you instead of someone else.

  2. Next, consider how those differentiating factors might change over time—and how they might need adjusting if they don't work as well as expected once implemented into production for the first time (or second time...or tenth time).

  3. Finally, take a look at your product from a customer's perspective, and consider how the market might be changing and what that might mean for you and your product. Think about how people could use it differently than expected or what new uses might open up as technology advances.

Product Feature Examples:

Product feature examples can vary depending on the industry and specific product. Here are a few product feature examples:

1. Smartphone Features:

Smartphones come with a plethora of features that cater to various user needs. Some common smartphone features include:

  • High-resolution cameras for photography and video recording

  • Large storage capacity for apps, photos, and videos

  • Long-lasting battery life for extended usage

  • Advanced security features like fingerprint or facial recognition

2. Software Features

Software products also boast numerous features that enhance their functionality and appeal to users. For instance, a project management software may have the following features:

  • Task assignment and tracking capabilities

  • Real-time collaboration tools for team communication

  • Calendar integration to manage deadlines and milestones

  • Customizable reporting options for data analysis

3. Automobile Features

Automobiles come equipped with a wide range of features designed to improve safety, comfort, performance, and aesthetics. Some popular car features are:

  • Adaptive cruise control for maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles

  • Heated seats and steering wheel for added comfort in cold weather

  • Lane departure warning systems to alert drivers when drifting out of their lane

4 Types of Product Features

There are several types of product features, each with its significance and impact on the customer's perception of the product. Below, we will discuss four main types of product features:

1. Functional Features

Functional features are the essential aspects of a product that enable it to perform its primary purpose. For example, the primary functional feature of a smartphone is making calls, while a car's main functional feature is transportation. In many cases, functional features are the core reason a customer purchases a product.

2. Aesthetic Features

Aesthetic features are the visual or sensory elements that make a product more appealing, such as color, shape, texture, or scent. These features can create an emotional connection with customers and influence their purchasing decisions. For instance, a sleek and modern design in a smartphone may attract customers who value style and appearance.

3. Performance Features

Performance features relate to the efficiency, speed, or quality of a product's performance. They are particularly important for products where customers expect high levels of performance, such as computers, sports equipment, or vehicles. Examples of performance features include the processing speed of a laptop or the acceleration of a car.

4. Complementary Features

Complementary features are additional components, services, or accessories that enhance the overall value or utility of a product. These features can help improve the user experience or make the product more versatile. Examples of complementary features include a warranty for a refrigerator, an app store for a smartphone, or a set of attachments for a vacuum cleaner.

How do product managers prioritize the features of a product?

Product managers need to prioritize features in order to stay on track with their roadmap. This means they must figure out which features are important and which can wait until later.

Here are some ways that product managers prioritize features:

Competitor Analysis

This is a great way to see what your competition offers and how customers react to their products. You can also look for gaps in their offerings and try to fill them with new features!

Customer Feedback

You can ask customers directly what they want or need from your product. This will allow you to identify pain points and feature requests that could be valuable in the future.

Product/Market Fit

The best way to know if your product is ready for new features is by looking at how customers are using it right now. If they’re not using your product as intended, then there may be some problems with how it works right now!

User Interviews

Talking with real users can help you identify problems they face and find out if there are any features they’re looking for but aren’t getting from other companies.

Customer Surveys

You can use surveys to ask customers why they buy from you and what features they would like to see. This is a great way to find out if there are any issues that need fixing!

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How to prioritize product features?

When developing or improving a product, it's essential to prioritize its features effectively. This ensures that resources are allocated efficiently, and the most valuable aspects of the product are focused on first. Below are some tips that can help you prioritize the features of a product:

1. Identify Customer Needs

Understanding your target customers' needs and preferences is crucial for prioritizing product features. Conduct market research, gather feedback from existing customers, and analyze competitors to identify what matters most to your audience.

2. Evaluate Feature Importance

Not all features hold equal importance to customers. Rank each feature based on its potential impact on customer satisfaction, revenue generation, or market differentiation. This will help you focus on high-impact features first.

3. Analyze Costs and Benefits

Consider the costs associated with implementing each feature – including development time, resources, and potential risks – against its expected benefits. Features that offer higher returns on investment should generally be prioritized over those with lower returns.

4. Consider Technical Feasibility

Some features may be more challenging or time-consuming to implement than others due to technical constraints or dependencies. Assess the feasibility of each feature before committing resources to ensure you don't overcommit or jeopardize other aspects of the project.

5. Use a Prioritization Framework

Adopting a prioritization framework like MoSCoW (Must-have, Should-have, Could-have, Won't-have) or the Kano Model can help structure your decision-making process and provide clear criteria for evaluating each feature's importance.

6. Iterate and Reassess Regularly

Product development is an ongoing process that requires continuous reassessment of priorities as new information becomes available or circumstances change. Regularly review your feature priorities to ensure they remain aligned with customer needs, market trends, and business objectives.

By following these tips for prioritizing product features, you'll be better equipped to create a product that delivers value to your customers and stands out from the competition.

Product features vs. benefits

It's important to understand the difference between product features and benefits when considering the impact of product features on customers. Product features are the attributes or functions of a product that provide value, while benefits are the advantages customers gain from using those features.

For example, a smartphone's camera feature may provide the benefit of capturing high-quality photos. Understanding how product features create customer benefits is essential for creating products that meet customer needs and deliver value.

The table below shows example products and services with sample features and the corresponding benefits:

Product/Service

Product Features

Benefits

Smartphone

High-resolution camera

Capture stunning photos and videos

Electric Car

Fast-charging battery

Convenient and quick recharging for an extended range

Fitness Tracker

Heart rate monitoring

Track your cardiovascular health during workouts

E-commerce Website

Personalized product recommendations

Discover new products tailored to your interests

Meal Delivery Service

Customizable meal plans

Enjoy meals catered to your dietary preferences or goals

Laptop

Lightweight design

Easily portable for on-the-go productivity

Noise-cancelling Headphones

Active noise cancellation

Immersive listening experience in noisy environments

The importance of product features and benefits is highlighted by the fact that customers often make purchase decisions based on them. People tend to prioritize features that are most useful to them, such as a laptop's lightweight design for portability, or a noise-canceling headset for immersive listening. By understanding customer needs and offering features that meet them, companies can create products that are more attractive to customers and differentiate themselves from competitors.

What is the difference between epics, features, and user stories?

Epics: Epics are high-level user stories that describe the major functionality of an application. They consist of multiple features and help teams manage large projects by dividing them into manageable chunks. Epics define what a successful project looks like and can be used to judge the progress of development or marketing efforts.

Features: Features are the smallest units of functionality that can be implemented in a project. They describe how specific parts of the application work and what they do for users. Features include requirements and acceptance criteria, which describe how to implement them.

User stories: User stories are short descriptions of a feature or functionality that a customer wants from your product. They help you evaluate whether the user is getting what they need, and they can also help you prioritize items on your roadmap. When creating an epic, think about what problem it's solving for customers and how many features will be involved in solving that problem.

Conclusion

Product features are vital in shaping the overall customer experience, differentiating products from competitors, and driving customer satisfaction. By understanding the various types of product features and their associated benefits, businesses can create products that cater to their target audience's needs more effectively.

Moreover, prioritizing product features by evaluating their importance, costs, benefits, and technical feasibility helps allocate resources efficiently and ensure a successful product development process. Remember to keep customers' needs at the forefront of your decision-making process and reassess feature priorities regularly to stay up-to-date with evolving market trends and customer preferences.

By focusing on the right features and delivering customer-centric benefits, companies can create products that not only stand out in the market but also foster long-lasting relationships with satisfied customers.

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FAQ

What are product backlog features?

Product backlog features are broad descriptions of how a product works. They're typically created by UX designers and other experts in the field, then handed off to engineers who will build them out into fully functional products. Features can be broken down into smaller chunks called tasks or stories (see below).

Product backlog features are required to be built before your product can be shipped. They're the first step in creating a new feature, and they should include everything you need to know about how it will work. If a customer needs an email address to sign up for your newsletter, you'll need to build an email form into your product. This is one (very simple) example of a requirement that could be written down as part of your backlog features.

What's the difference between requirements and features?

A feature is a product capability that meets a user's need. This can relate to features such as the ability to log in, an advanced search engine, and more. In contrast, a requirement describes either an aspect of a product or a system that needs to be built.

Requirements are often described as “functional” requirements, which describe how something works, or “non-functional” requirements which describe attributes such as performance and security.

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