How to prioritize among competing features?

How to prioritize among competing features

 

ne of the important and difficult task for any product manager/owner is to prioritize among different features, even big companies(despite having big budget) are constraints by time and opportunity cost and it becomes extremely important that only certain features are pushed into development pipeline.

I am taking an hypothetical (very relevant ) example of two important features that any e-commerce might need it, we will then look at approach that I use to select which feature to use.

I know there are many other approaches to do the same but they are either very complex or impractical to use, I will be using simple (cost/benefits analysis) but practical (and objective) ways to achieve the same.

Case: FlipKart(India’s biggest E-commerce website) is growing fast and so is its competitors (Amazon committed 5Bn in India), in order to capture more market share it is considering two major offering

  1. Internet speed in India is slow to fill this gap FlipKart is considering to offer ‘FlipKart Lite‘ light version of its mobile app so that people with slow speed can also access the mobile app easily.
  2. Many people in India are not using e-commerce because of Language barrier – Only English version – So FlipKart is also thinking of supporting vernacular support.

Question is, if FlipKart can only support one feature, which one it should choose and why?

Let breakdown this problem into a Cost-Benefits equation, I have assumed that in order to judge the cost and benefit of any software features these parameters have to be kept in mind.

Benefits:

  • Customer Value : how much value a customer can get from the feature
  • Strategic Value: What strategic value company can get .
  • Market share : How much market share impact will this feature have
  • Revenue: What will be revenue impact

Cost:

  • Implementation Effort
  • Risk
  • Operational Cost

Now we have to assign WEIGHTAGE to each of these parameters (it will depend on company, I am assuming certain weightage based on what FlipKart usually focus on)

Second we also then have to rate each feature (here I have taken 5 max score)

When you add up all the score you will briefly have a winner.

Although I am oversimplifying certain variables but in real world I will also justify why i am assigning points for each parameters. for example in order to justify the points for ‘Market Share’ I would list of following comparison.

Market Share:

Vernacular Support : 5/5

Reason:

  • According to CLSA, the next 100 million Internet users in India are not likely to be English speaking, giving a local touch with language can have larger impact on the market share of FlipKart, if FlipKart get this change right it will be in good position to capture 30-40% market share out of this opportunity.
  • Some study estimates that possible reach through Vernacular route is 200-300 mn customer base which is really huge.

Light View: 2/5

  • FlipKart can become user’s first choice if FlipKart Lite can really make difference in speed thus increasing FlipKart market share.
  • For data conscious mobile users FlipKart can become only choice for shopping thus protecting FlipKart’s current market share.

Why Vernacular wins here:

Because next 200-300mn untapped user base is huge where Vernacular Support can really make a big difference as compare to FlipKart Lite

Here we can see, based on the Benefits/Cost comparison Vernacular is winning despite big difficulty in implementing it correctly.

I hope it helps you to prioritize your features.

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