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Building a Case for Your Next Product Feature Set

It’s crunch time and you need to draft a business case document for the product feature that’s been on your radar for months. How do you turn that green light into a launch point for your company’s next addition?

Product Managers are often saddled with a complicated task: even if you zero in on the product or product feature that could greatly benefit your business, building enough executive support to get it off the ground is another matter. Without the right approach to documentation, even the most useful or intriguing product recommendations will not make it past the preliminary stage. Product Managers looking to build a strong business case that gets results should be prepared to answer the two questions below.

Who needs it?

Oftentimes, the simplest questions are the ones that get overlooked the most frequently. This fact manifests itself when Product Managers recognize the need for a product feature but fail to hone in on a target audience for it. Is the feature needed in order to stay competitive? Is it the result of customer feedback or internal requests?

Answering this question is crucial to the viability of a project for several reasons. Firstly, it allows a product manager to pinpoint the right approach for the audience. Being able to present an end user-specific strategy as part of the business case is a powerful step in demonstrating expertise and practical knowledge, garnering support along the way. Additionally, being aware of the target audience from the earliest stages of the product process will help to narrow the focus and streamline the stages that follow. Over time, this saves valuable resources — and increases the likelihood of the next product feature’s acceptance.

Have the benefits been clearly articulated?

Even with a well-defined overview of the target audience, it remains up to the Product Manager to convince upper management of the proposed product’s business benefits. Not surprisingly, the benefit that must be demonstrated is how it will grow revenue. A business case should be considered incomplete without a clear-cut strategy for increasing sales, cutting costs or gaining an edge over the competition. In a business climate of limited resources and harried schedules, this mindset is helpful in ensuring your next product feature gets priority.

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