What Goals do your users want to accomplish and how can your business and digital product assist them in achieving those goals?
TL:DR Typically when starting a digital project, once user groups (Personas) have been established it is important to recognize the tasks that the users will need to accomplish when using the digital product. Typically starting with a Jobs-To-Be-Done Analysis, which leads to a Prioritized Product Features List. These allow us a better understanding of what exactly the users need to accomplish with the digital product and how it fits into a company's overall business model.
What are Your User’s Trying to Accomplish?
After a business’s archetypal users are established (Personas) and we have an understanding of their basic goals when interacting with the business we create a high-level list of tasks in the order that each persona will take in order to accomplish those goals. These high-level tasks that the users are trying to accomplish are known as Jobs-to-be-Done Workflows. Basically, Personas are who your users are and Jobs-to-be-Done is what those users need to do.
Jobs-to-be-Done takes the form of a workflow that generally has multiple steps to complete a given task. A common example would be a typical eCommerce checkout, the high-level task is a user wants to purchase a hammer online. In order to purchase a hammer online, a user would need to find the hammer they want to buy, add it to their cart, enter their credit card information and finally enter their shipping information. And this doesn’t include if the online hammer retailer is looking to create user accounts for easy future checkout, which would require another Jobs-to-be-Done workflow be established for user profile registration and customization.
It is normal for some Job-to-be-Done workflows to be repeated by multiple personas, especially if the business or digital product is limited in scope. For instance, using the example of an online hammer store from above, they may have multiple customer groups (professional carpentry companies and amateur DIYers for example), but both user types want to purchase a hammer online and go through the eCommerce Job-to-be-Done workflow.
Working it into the Business Model
Once the Jobs-to-be-Done workflows have been determined, they are weighed against the needs of the business and the business model. Workflows that will directly impact the business’s bottom line are placed higher on the list versus workflows that serve to secondary or tertiary business objectives. The list prioritizes the Jobs-to-be-Done for the project and organizes those Jobs-to-be-Done into product features is known as a Prioritized Feature List.
When creating a Prioritized Features List one, perhaps the most, important piece of data to look at is the business’s KPIs or the Key Performance Indicators. A business’s KPIs are how the business determines its effectiveness, the metrics that determine how successful the business is. KPIs are generally quantitatively based goals, in the example of the hardware store their primary KPI could be; increase online hammer sales by 20%. Since the KPIs provide the information for the primary goals of the business, this is what the features are generally weighed against when creating the Prioritized Feature List.
Another variable when creating a prioritized feature list is the effort needed to create each specific feature. Basically how much technical expertise and work will be required to construct the back and front-end of the feature. If a feature will require significant work in service of a secondary or tertiary KPI, that feature is placed lower on the priority list. Likewise, if a feature is essential to the business achieving its primary goal but requires a significant technical effort, other features may have to be delayed or dropped from the project.
To continue to use the example of an online hardware store (specializing in hammer sales), assume the primary KPI is; increase hammer sales by 20%, and his secondary KPIs are increasing his social following by 25%, and increasing user time on blog posts relating to hammers by 20% (they want to be seen as hammer experts). The most important feature for this website will be the ability to sell hammers online (eCommerce Workflow) as that is what brings in revenue, other features might include a blog, allowing users to review and share their thoughts on hammers, social media advertisements and a gallery of hammers. Given infinite time all of those features could be included, however with timelines and budgets being what they are it becomes important to prioritize features by their impact on the business and effort required to achieve them.
With a firm understanding of your business’s objectives and goals, your business’s customers or user-base and what their goals are when interacting with your company you can begin to put together what your digital product needs to do to be successful. Prioritizing your product's features comes down to a simple matter of Desirability, Viability, and Feasibility. The desire of a user to accomplish a task (Job-to-be-Done), the viability of the task when weighed against the business’s needs and finally the feasibility of creating the workflow within budget and time constraints; these are the foundations of building a successful digital projects