How Product Development Teams Can Build Successful Features

Luke Grimstrup

Recommendations for product teams that want to establish the right scope, build the right features, and achieve product success.

You’re a product manager coming up to a new quarter, you spend the next week or two frantically preparing an updated product roadmap that includes all the things the product development team should be building over the next 12 weeks. What should you include?

Define what success looks like

It’s easy for product managers and their development teams to fall into the trap of continuing to endlessly build out feature after feature, ship it, and forget about it. It’s also easy for teams to keep building features without knowing if those features are successful.

As a product manager, you should have clear measures of success for the feature, or be able to articulate how it contributes to a bigger story and those success measures. You need to understand what success looks like so you can stay focused, keep scope focused, and keep teams focused.

Fast forward twelve weeks to the end of the quarter, what does success look like for you? What would you have liked to have accomplished?

Identify the key metrics that will indicate progress towards your goal

Key metrics are really important to track even before that newest feature you’re working on is released. For each of the new features you’re building, what are the 2 to 3 metrics that indicate you’re making solid progress towards your goal for the quarter?

If you’re working on a feature or product that’s not yet in market, you might find yourself focused on delivery metrics like velocity, burn-down, and costs, and using these metrics to keep stakeholders updated and constantly revising the latest ETA for it to go live.

Whereas, if you’re optimizing a product that’s in-market, you might have measures that looking to increase, such as the number of customers adopting a feature, or improving the overall satisfaction with the product or feature.

The stage you’re in might influence the types of metrics you’re monitoring and keeping track of. Focusing on delivery metrics is typically fine until something is released, and then you should switch focus to product performance metrics.

Collect data on those key metrics

When you’re identifying the key metrics that indicate the success towards your goal, make sure you can actually collect data on those key metrics.

“What gets measured gets done.” — Peter Drucker

If there are key success measures that you’re not currently tracking, build them into the scope, it’s a valuable requirement to not forget!!

Analyze the data to see if you’re making progress

You want to be able to visualize your key success measures in a report or a dashboard. What I typically do is have a series of links to key dashboards and reports somewhere accessible for the team, so they can check out how we’re progressing at any time.

I also recommend building a rhythm where you’re checking your numbers at least once a week, quickly jumping into those reports, and familiarising yourself with the current numbers before any major internal or external meeting you might be pressed for an update.

Adjust your strategy as necessary


Great stuff, by now you have released something into production, and people are using it! Now, before you move on to the next project, it’s important to keep your finger on the pulse on how your recent additions are performing. How often are you reviewing and discussing those success measures?

I recommend at minimum setting a reminder to check the numbers at least once a week and depending on the feature keep other stakeholders updated on how it’s progressing.

This is really the art of product management in today’s agile world. If you’re seeing evidence that you need to adjust course and make changes to the plan. You shouldn’t be afraid to do so provided you have the evidence to support your recommendations.

The important piece here is being open and transparent with your stakeholders when changes need to take place and when they occur.

Keeping stakeholders updated here might be straightforward, like dropping an update on Slack, Email, or walking through the evidence and data in a bit more detail in 1:1s or team meetings ultimately finding a recommendation to put forward.

Eliminate surprises

The key here is to eliminate “surprises” with your stakeholders, set expectations around what you’re setting out to achieve and what metrics you’re looking to impact, build for that, and then reflect on whether or not you achieved the desired result. Keeping stakeholders in the loop along every step of the journey.

If you’d like to find out more

If you’d like to learn how to save time, eliminate “surprises” when dealing with stakeholders, and streamline your progress reporting, check out and schedule a demo. Let’s talk and see if we can help you reach your product management goals. I wish you the best of success, and I hope this information is useful!

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