Interesting post about forgetting feature requests

I ran across a blog post today suggesting that the work of tracking and logging feature requests is unnecessary.  As the thought goes, the ideas that keep coming up are the ones worth considering anyway, so those repeated mentions serve to remind the product manager of the market’s needs.

I find this interesting in its minimalism, but within a large software organization it seems like this might be difficult.  The product manager is often several levels removed from support calls, which is where a high volume of customer contact is made.  The product manager’s site visits, interviews and observations may be only a small percentage of the company’s contact with its customers.  So is it wise to trust that the product manager’s selection of contacts is wide enough that those same important ideas will bubble up to the top?

The degree to which a product manager spends time listening to the market also plays a part.  If the product manager carries products all the way through commercialization, time in market may be sporadic or limited; in which case, this concept would seem to be more risky of not hearing the “right” messages from the market.

Still, interesting food for thought.


~ by John Peltier on February 27, 2009.

4 Responses to “Interesting post about forgetting feature requests”

  1. Feature requests are not requirements. That’s why we need user experience analysts to gather user requirements. Business analysts can gather business requirements. And systems analysts can gather system requirements. Ideally, a product manager leads the business decisions on productization of a product. A product manager also has a proJECT manager to wrangle costs, timelines, meetings, and issue elevation.

    I like your comment that a product manager spends time listening to the market. I think that’s a good idea. I do think, however, that the UX analyst is the one responsible for listening to and observing the user. Two different things 😉

  2. Looking at the comment above, I think feature requests can be classified as nice-to-have requirements, while normal requirements should be classified as must-have requirements.

    I have published an how to identify Must-Have vs. Nice-to-Have Requirements, take a look, you might find it interesting!

  3. Project manager…hmmmmmmmm.

    I am not sure I agree with your entirely silo’d descriptions of analyst roles, though I agree feature requests certainly aren’t requirements. I think they can be pointers to missed requirements, but very often they’re pointers to something 5% or less of the market would use, or they’re not even that helpful. I would say a PM and UX analyst together would be a panel I’d like to see evaluating such things. Hypothetically, of course.

    We use a high-medium-low breakdown, but the “must” vs. “nice” isn’t bad either. That said, not all feature requests would be “nice to have” – or, rather, they may only be “nice to have” to a very small subset of the user base, while it might be clutter to the majority.

    Thanks for visiting!

  4. […] Blog: John Peltier on Products tagged with: none Post:… […]

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