Feature Requests From Customers Are Really About Unsolved Problems

I recently read a nice post by Cindy Alvarez in her blog –  Saying “No” to… Feature Requests

One sentence in her post caught my eye:

…many requests for solutions are obscured insights into problems.

This is an excellent point by Cindy.

I’ve found this to be very true in my own experience as well.

Why Feature Requests From Customers Are REALLY About Unsolved Problems

When a customer asks for a new feature – they may or may not actually want/need the feature they ask for!

Often product managers make the mistake of assuming that the customers know exactly the feature they need. But this may not be a correct assumption in many instances.

What the customers do know – and they know this really well – are the problems they have that are unmet by your product or service. They not only know about these problems, but very often they know them far better than product managers or anyone else at your company.

What Does This Mean To Product Managers?

The next time a customer asks for a new feature – make a concerted effort to understand what problem(s) they have that they’re trying to solve by asking for this feature. Really, really understand the problem. In depth.

Then design a “feature” that solves this problem insanely well – far better than even the customer might have envisioned.

Editor’s Note:
Interested in an affordable, enterprise-quality software to help you manage requirements in a better way? Check out FREE 30-Day trial of Accompa or Sign Up for a Demo.

I'm your author, Michael Shrivathsan, an expert in product management with successful experience at several innovative companies in Silicon Valley, USA over the past two decades. I'm also a USPTO patent recipient. For my day job, I'm the VP of Product Management at Accompa, we make the popular requirements management software used by Product Management, Business Analysis, and related teams.

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