This post is part of a series that fleshes out The TUNING Toolkit – a toolkit that helps people move their ideas forward.
The TUNING Toolkit has three sections: BELIEVE, CREATE, and ORGANIZE. In the BELIEVE section, we defined our ultimate goal, convincing ourselves that we have what it takes to achieve it, and we detailed our goal to make it measurable. In the CREATE section, we identified the potential stakeholders, the types of brainstorming and analysis we should engage in and when. Now we can think strategically about what to create and with whom and when to test it.
In the field of new product development, there is a common problem called feature creep. Feature creep is what happens when the team isn’t clear about which features to prioritize so they just pile them on. To make an analogy, think about restaurant menus you’ve seen that are many pages long. While a multi-page menu may be a good fit for a diner, it’s not a good fit for a restaurant with a specialty and a point of view.
Benefits over Features. Think about features in terms of the benefits they deliver. This tip sounds simple, but it is often overlooked. And when it’s overlooked, the customer is overlooked. Think back to our first exercise in this workbook: we identified who we want to help achieve X goal. Focusing on benefits over features helps us deliver on that promise.
The Technology Adoption Curve. There is a concept in entrepreneurship called the technology adoption curve. This is a visual representation of the types of customers you will engage with and when. It can help you and your team decide what features to build and test first and then which features to build and test later.
Convergent Thinking. In the last post, we used divergent thinking to generate ideas, with a promise that they would go through a rigorous analysis to figure out which ideas will have the most impact. The time for analysis has come. You can start by choosing a few criteria points to plot some of your ideas. Thinking in pairs can be helpful here. Explore pairs of criteria, such as “Cheap or Expensive; Status Quo or Out of the Box; Simple or Complicated; Nice to Have or Need to Have.”
Minimum Feature Set. Once you have analyzed your product ideas having prioritized benefits over features, your task is to define the minimum set of features to build to test with customers on the left side of the technology adoption curve. The knowledge you gain by quickly and cheaply building and testing a minimum set of features will serve you well when developing your prototypes later. With this knowledge, each version of your prototype will be better.