Although businesses have a massive set of features to include in mobile apps, reducing their number and concentrating on just what is required to get the apps to the market is crucial.
Prioritizing features gives solutions to questions like:
- What is the primary challenge your app users face?
- How can the product’s characteristics overcome the problem?
Feature prioritization can be done through many methods, and the most popular way is via the MoSCoW Matrix. Most of the results seem guesswork. However, these feature prioritization methods have some flaws that lead to the process’ failure.
Here are some of the challenges that those popular methods face:
- The similar voting power of non-experts and experts;
- incorrect decisions of individuals, by default; and
- measurement units (such as numeric marks, metaphors, symbols and positions of an item) are open to interpretation.
To overcome or reduce the subjectivity bias, some methods can be followed diligently. Let’s dig deep into these.
- Annotated marks: This method adds real-life explanations to abstract numeric marks. It clarifies the selection criteria, making the agreement uncomplicated and less ambiguous, and takes less time on discussions.
Generally, the selection criteria may differ depending on your plan/project. Some projects may need to assess the income potential and implementation efforts while some may concentrate mainly on ease of acceptance, anticipated deployment efforts and expected maintenance costs.
However, in every scenario, the approach remains the same. Firstly, specify the significant criteria, then construct a realistic scale, and eventually evaluate. To develop such a scale, extreme marks need to be considered first.
It may take time to build such a meaningful scale as those scales are generic and may not be repeated for another project.
- Descriptive canvas: This approach is a logical continuation of the previous method but is modified to a canvas. It inserts real-life descriptions into the frames of the canvas.
A canvas provides more versatile representation and more specific winners, as compared to ranking in a table. However, with unclear parameters, there is a risk of losing the whole project. This technique simplifies prioritization, especially on developing concise section names.
Descriptive canvas also clarifies selection criteria, making the project more superficial and less ambiguous, and reducing discussions. Using specific explanations reduces subjectivity, which can help participants correlate with what they have learned in previous projects. While dealing with canvases with large previews, beware of traffic-light colour-coding.
With three parts on each axis, the canvas fits best; the scales are specific and cannot be replicated into another project.
- Varied votes: Voting is a fast means of creating an agreement. Every vote is approved with anonymity and has equal weight. Voting encourages modest stakeholders and eliminates hierarchical barriers. This idea grants individuals with multiple expertise, points of different hues. Moreover, this strategy helps concentrate on the best characteristics and not be confused by one-sidedly promising products.
It reduces the number of final plans, considering both the number of votes and different advantages’ stability. Diversified voting discloses only two or three top ideas that complement each of the criteria.
However, this method does not eradicate subjectivity.
- Language usage: An improper language can destroy feature prioritization entirely. Inappropriate communication can quickly gain access to the chaos of subjectivity and give the group official permission to fantasize and ponder.
Rather than providing uninformative instructions, put individuals in a rational mood. In the prioritization process, declare, repeat and integrate meaningful selection or voting criteria. Ask people about the various feature ideas that would be the easiest to implement, which will pay off fast, and which of the features will solve their most severe problems. Ask them to recall their interactions and the latest user-research findings with end-users.
You have to deal with subjectivities each time you handle a project or deploy the technology on an application. You need to ensure that you prioritize every feature and come up with the best solution. It is natural to make emotional choices; nonetheless, there are methods to take less biased decisions.
Using the best templates for feature prioritization exercises is recommended. Develop a detailed plan with your team, analyze meaningful information and make the correct choices.