Buy-a-Feature Prioritization Model

The Buy-a-Feature Prioritization Model is a quantifiable exercise helping product teams to identify features that customers value most.

The Buy-a-Feature Prioritization Model endeavours to answer some basic questions around product development:

  • Which product feature will get customers excitedly telling their friends about it?
  • Which will cause them to rush to upgrade their model?
  • Which feature(s) will make the customer so happy that they ignore less desirable aspects of the product?

Understanding the Buy-a-Feature Prioritization Model

Choosing the appropriate mix of features can make or break a company, but too many product teams move ahead with product development without first involving the most important group of people: customers. 

The Buy-a-Feature Prioritization Model strengthens this decision making process by incorporating valuable customer input.

The model is named after the process of gathering this input, where customers are encouraged to “buy” high-priority features.

Implementing the Buy-a-Feature Prioritization Model

There are several ways to implement the Buy-a-Feature Prioritization Model. 

Regardless of which adaptation the business chooses, it’s important to conduct the exercise in person.

This facilitates deeper discussion about results which gives decision makers better insight into what customers want.

Here is how the product team may conduct a Buy-A-Feature exercise:

Make a list of features for prioritization, and assign “prices” to each

Price should be relative to the cost, risk, or complexity of developing that feature.

Before proceeding to the next step, every participant should be aware of the benefits of each option.

Then, hand out play money (jelly beans, Monopoly money, etc.) to each of the participants and send them shopping for their favourite features

Some practitioners suggest selling one or more items at a price that no single customer can afford.

This encourages customers to work together to purchase high-priority features.

Observe and learn

As customers negotiate, collaborate, and discuss certain features, the product team must observe intently.

Product team members are also encouraged to join the discussion, particularly if certain customers have reached an impasse on a particular feature.

Review the purchases

Once every participant has spent all of their money, discuss the results in a group. How did they arrive at their decisions?

Why was one item chosen over another? Why did two participants pool their money to buy a lower priority feature?

In collecting insights, product teams should be as exhaustive as possible.

Buy-a-Feature Prioritization Model best practices

To increase the efficacy of this exercise, consider these best practices:

Make the end users the primary participants

Although the Buy-a-Feature can be used with important stakeholders, the results are more significant if the end users are the primary participants. 

If certain product features have similar prices, then group them together

Otherwise, consider the pricing strategy carefully.

For example, a participant choosing between two products with a $10 difference in price is more likely to make a subjective decision that gives no insight into the feature itself.

Encourage participants to share their ideas by suggesting features or ideas not used in the exercise

For best results, ask them how they would value each feature and why.

Key takeaways

  • The Buy-a-Feature Prioritization Model is a product prioritization technique which asks customers to “buy” features they value the most.
  • The Buy-a-Feature Prioritization Model is performed in four simple steps. The Buy-a-Feature exercise can be performed online, but the best results are seen by conducting it in person.
  • The Buy-a-Feature Prioritization Model is most effective when there is collaboration and interaction between product team members and participants. Certain aspects of the Buy-a-Feature exercise can be gamed to encourage this collaboration.

Connected Business Concepts And Frameworks

North Star Metric

A north star metric (NSM) is any metric a company focuses on to achieve growth. A north star metric is usually a key component of an effective growth hacking strategy, as it simplifies the whole strategy, making it simpler to execute at high speed. Usually, when picking up a North Start Metric, it’s critical to avoid vanity metrics (those that do not really impact the business) and instead find a metric that really matters for the business growth.

ICE Scoring

The ICE Scoring Model is an agile methodology that prioritizes features using data according to three components: impact, confidence, and ease of implementation. The ICE Scoring Model was initially created by author and growth expert Sean Ellis to help companies expand. Today, the model is broadly used to prioritize projects, features, initiatives, and rollouts. It is ideally suited for early-stage product development where there is a continuous flow of ideas and momentum must be maintained.

Virtuous Cycle

The virtuous cycle is a positive loop or a set of positive loops that trigger a non-linear growth. Indeed, in the context of digital platforms, virtuous cycles – also defined as flywheel models – help companies capture more market shares by accelerating growth. The classic example is Amazon’s lower prices driving more consumers, driving more sellers, thus improving variety and convenience, thus accelerating growth.

Freemium Business Model

The freemium – unless the whole organization is aligned around it – is a growth strategy rather than a business model. A free service is provided to a majority of users, while a small percentage of those users convert into paying customers through the sales funnel. Free users will help spread the brand through word of mouth.

Growth Matrix

In the FourWeekMBA growth matrix, you can apply growth for existing customers by tackling the same problems (gain mode). Or by tackling existing problems, for new customers (expand mode). Or by tackling new problems for existing customers (extend mode). Or perhaps by tackling whole new problems for new customers (reinvent mode).

Ansoff Matrix

You can use the Ansoff Matrix as a strategic framework to understand what growth strategy is more suited based on the market context. Developed by mathematician and business manager Igor Ansoff, it assumes a growth strategy can be derived from whether the market is new or existing, and whether the product is new or existing.

Read Also: Kano Model, New Product Development.

Read Next: Business AnalysisCompetitor Analysis, Continuous InnovationAgile MethodologyLean StartupBusiness Model InnovationProject Management.

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