When dealing with new ideas for your product or your software, being able to organize them and to put them in motion is no easy task. Feature planning can help to manage the many different steps that entail designing a new feature and to define a clear process for you and your team.
If you’re in the software development business then you understand the importance of being able to constantly offer new, fresh, and improved features to your product, mainly because if you don’t, your competitors will.
Feature planning refers to the process of organizing your ideas for the creation of new features (the features your customers will be expecting). This process involves many different steps, such as selecting ideas, determining a roadmap to make them come to life, and refining them to the point that they are ready to go live.
But this process also involves different people; you need the green light from stakeholders, and you need to bring designers and developers to the action, just to name a few. Creating a plan for your work is extremely important because you will need to prioritize certain tasks, set deadlines, and define roles. Feature planning will help you develop the entire process for building your features, from beginning to end.
So, you’ve done the research and you’ve determined alongside your team what the next feature needs to be. Now it’s time to:
Focusing on those two initial stages can determine the success of your plan. Because they allow you to understand everything about your new feature, and how it’s going to impact your product and your clients. It will also help your team create their work path, by discussing and reviewing different possible scenarios.
Once you have those stages figured out, it’s time to focus on the action plan. Let’s dive into the most important steps you need to follow when planning your new features:
Step 1. Build a solid timeline. This will be the ground for your work. Specify the people you’re going to need, what budget you’re going to need, and discuss the timing. It’s always a good idea to hold a planning meeting in which you can gather your team to discuss goals, milestones, and to make sure everyone’s on the same page.
Step 2. Map out your feature. It’s extremely important to have a clear understanding of what you’re creating, so think about the different use cases and map out the user flow. Focus on the needs you’re addressing and the problem you’re solving by creating this new feature.
Step 3. Sketch your feature and work on a prototype. This will help you design the actual feature that you have in mind.
Step 4. You have built a prototype, now it’s time to share it and to gather reviews from stakeholders. Once it’s been received, document it and iterate on it.
Step 5. You’ve done enough research and have enough feedback and information to feel confident about what you’re going to build. So get to work.
By following these 5 steps you’ll be making sure your process is on track, and most importantly, you will be keeping your team in the loop. By taking the time to build a solid ground for your work, the developing phase will be much easier and organized. You will also be assessing the information and documenting the process, and this will help you and your team foresee any possible red flags or risks.
Feature planning templates are an excellent way for team leaders to ensure the process of building and creating a feature stays on track. By setting clear responsible parties and deadlines, you will be making sure the plan is fulfilled to completion.
Planning new features using Excel or PowerPoint can be a common approach, but those tools can only go as far. There wouldn’t be a way to easily assign tasks to different people, to follow up on progress, or to visualize tasks right next to their deadlines, just to mention a couple of downsides. And this is exactly where a Gantt chart software like Instagantt can truly make a difference.
Feature Planning allows you to develop a process for building your feature so you can hit the ground running. And Instagantt helps you plan, and document the entire process so that you can focus on what matters the most; managing your team and making sure the project stays on track.