Once you’ve set up your product strategy with goals and initiatives, coming up with ideas for your product is not going to be a problem. But you will need to make sure that all the ideas that make the cut and find their way to your backlog are aligned with your product strategy.
For example, if one of your initiatives is increasing conversions by 15%, you need to make sure your feature ideas are going to contribute to achieving that goal.
You should also remember to align your feature ideas with the feature segments you’ve determined in one of the previous steps, for example, Structure, Views, Usability, Accessibility, Design, etc.
When it comes to getting ideas for features, you can find them in multiple places. And it’s very important to write them down as soon as they are conceived. You can do this by adding them to your product roadmap but making sure to label them as ideas.
As the product manager, you will know the product like the back of your hand. This means that you will always know best which features are missing, what needs improvement or what the users will find most valuable.
You can come up with ideas in the following ways:
At the beginning of this guide, we mentioned that product management process requires involvement from the whole team. That’s why your whole team should be somewhat involved in the process of creating the product roadmap.
Each part of the team - engineering, marketing, sales, customer success - will have their unique insights about the product because they see it from their own angle.
Developers will know best how each new feature will fit inside the code. Marketing and sales teams can predict what would bring the biggest impact on your bottom line. And the customer success team talks to the users every day and knows their problems best.
That’s why you should make it possible for your team members to note down their suggestions in the product roadmap. That way, anyone can directly contribute by adding an idea.
At the end of the day, you’re creating the product for the end user. That’s why some of your best ideas will come precisely from your users.
Make sure to stay in touch with your users/customers through support channels, live demo calls and community channels (such as a forum or a Facebook group). Your users will be eager to give suggestions, report bugs and offer plenty of feedback that will help you build the product.
Picasso once said (and Steve Jobs confirmed): “good artists copy; great artists steal.” There’s nothing wrong with keeping tabs on your competitors and copying (or stealing) ideas from them.
In fact, that is the only smart thing to do. So make sure to check on your main competitors’ products from time to time, follow their new releases, read their blog, and pick up a few ideas along the way.
As we already mentioned, it’s very useful to include ideas in the product roadmap, but it’s also important to keep them separate from the features that are already defined and ready for design and development.
The best way to do this is to create a ‘Stage’ label set that will include ‘Idea’ as the first label. Grouped by Stage, your product roadmap will then clearly show all your ideas neatly listed in the first column. And, you'll also be able to create a separate tab and filter out only ideas so you can have them all in one place.
Here's how to add new ideas to your Infinity roadmap: