Determining which features should be included in the first version of a new software product is not an easy task. But prioritization should be the first step, no matter how difficult it is. This applies to any application development, both mobile and web-based. If done correctly, prioritization can put your development project on the right track. On the other hand, your project is likely a wasted investment if you prioritize the wrong features.
It is critical to ensure that the application results in the early stages are well aligned with a solid and strategic vision. In software development, there is always the urge to include every great feature that comes to mind. However, this can be detrimental, and the result may not be what the user wants. Therefore, it is important to know how features are prioritized for software development.
Importance of prioritizing features in a mobile app
Before we get to the “how-part,” we should understand the importance of prioritizing features. When you have an idea for a mobile application, you have a clear picture of what it will do and what the end goal will be. But putting it all at once could lead to a few problems.
Some of the obstacles you might encounter are:
- It will most likely be costly to use.
- In the end, you provide features that you think are needed but might not.
- Developing too many features at once can increase the application launch time. This can open doors for competitors to attract new users.
- You may end up starting features that belong to the premium category. If so, these will be difficult to monetize.
For these reasons, it is advisable to prioritize features for mobile applications. By prioritizing, you can make the app cost-effective, have a defined scope, reach the market faster and, more importantly, put some additional features on hold to monetize them later.
How to prioritize functions in mobile development
To prioritize the features of a mobile application, you can use any of the approaches mentioned above with a few additions. It’s about replicating the agile software development method, where you start small, test the hypothesis, get feedback from users and regularly improve the app. If you follow, you can create a flexible app that doesn’t have extraneous features.
For feature prioritization to be effective, it is critical to identify the greatest value your product will bring to customers. There are few core / primary features in most applications and many secondary features to support the primary. It is important to invest the time necessary to find out about these killer features.
After the core features are identified, you can easily see what your secondary features will be. This makes it very convenient to eliminate those features that are not critical to the first start. The focus should always be on the primary features and then develop around them.
The prioritization should therefore be based on the following criteria:
- Important, but for the first start.
- Good to have.
Let’s take a closer look at these:
These are the features that land in the “Nice-to-have” section of MoSCoW technology. You can’t even think of launching the app without the necessary features. First-time users will be interacting with these features to give you the feedback you need to add new things.
The features in this section are most useful to customers, and most of the time, business and app sales depend on them.
Features that are important but not required for the initial introduction
In the MoSCoW categories, these features fit into the “Must-Have” section. These can be put on hold for later to improve the application through software updates. You can make even premium some of these features and monetize them – after all, these are supposed to improve the user experience. The features in this category are essential, high quality, and inexpensive. You can use these features later to improve the main features and overall usability.
There should be some metrics to assess the actual contribution of features to the application’s value. You can’t invest too much of your budget in improving features that aren’t of great value. You don’t want to overload the app to get started. It is best to put these “nice-to-have” features on hold for later to make it easy for the user to understand how the app works. You can only increase the complexity of the application if your users are familiar with the current version. Keeping it simple is key to successful mobile development.
Narrowing down the list of features is one of the most effective and powerful steps you can take in the early stages of development. It ensures that you start on the right foot. In your next/upcoming mobile development project, you can certainly use different approaches and techniques to prioritize features. This will ensure that your project is in line with the goals you have set.