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From Idea to Product: Building Features

August 21, 2014

From Idea to Product: Building Features

Features don't begin with new code or user interface sketches, they often start with an idea, problem, or complaint. This talk walks through the many different ways concepts become ideas, along with the different roles involved in the process of bringing ideas to life.


August 21, 2014

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  1. Terminology use case ROI designer developer project manager product manager

    API agile sprint planning staging QA pull request server git
  2. Agile Development methodology that helps teams release faster by promoting

    communication. Includes stand up and sprint planning.
  3. Sprint planning A sprint is a pre-determined amount of time

    that is used for planning and metrics. Sprint planning is a team meeting where you decide what to work on during the sprint.
  4. Acceptance criteria Determined by the Product or Project Manager, acceptance

    criteria are the bare requirements for the feature. Things it should, or should not, do.
  5. Wireframes Wireframes are outlined pen-and-paper or digital sketches of the

    app or website layout inside of browsers, phones, tablets, and other devices.
  6. Mockups Mockups are a digital rendering of the user interface.

    Sometimes they’re functional mockups with clickable items, others they’re a visual aid.
  7. MVP MVP stands for minimum viable product. The goal is

    to achieve the best usable product in the smallest amount of effort and time.
  8. Project Project Managers usually oversee smaller, on-going efforts (projects!). Examples

    include: accessibility, compatibility initiatives, and minor non-technical upgrades or changes.
  9. Product Product Managers have a more narrow focus and are

    isolated to one team, feature, or product. There are also Technical Product Managers, who oversee actual implementation (code!).
  10. Product Manager The primary point of contact for the feature.

    They decide acceptance criteria, negotiate deadlines, and work across teams. They own it.
  11. Designers Designers make wireframes and visual mockups. They are responsible

    for branding, color schemes, typography, and more. They sometimes work with Marketing, too.
  12. Ux Ui Engineers Designers who code are often called UX/UI

    Engineers. They also make wireframes and mockups, and work across teams. They make design prototypes or write the front end code.
  13. Developers There are lots of different kinds of developers. Back-end

    developers work on the server code. Front-end developers work on the UI. Full-stack developers work on both.
  14. The number of developers on a feature depends on its

    size, not the skill of the developer.
  15. Quality Assurance QAs can be manual- or automation-focused. Manual QAs

    click through elements to make sure things work. Automation QAs write tests that automate the manual process of clicking things.
  16. Customers Customers are a great source for innovation. Sometimes complaints

    become new features. Other times, customers have awesome ideas.
  17. Competition If your competition adds something new, you might add

    the same feature to stay relevant. Sometimes competition can totally botch an in- demand new feature, giving you room to outperform.
  18. Market Trends shift, technology fades in and out, fads change.

    What’s in-demand today could be useless or completely forgotten tomorrow.
  19. Engineers We like to make news things. We like to

    make things bigger, better, faster, stronger, cooler. We think we can make it better than everyone else.
  20. Product Outside of your customers, your Product team knows your

    stuff better than anyone else. They’re a hot bed of ideas, and are really great at preliminary research, too.
  21. Executives The executives in charge of your company sometimes get

    wild hairs and decide to micromanage unnecessarily by requesting features. This is usually a pain, but they’re still features!
  22. Product They do research - sometimes with focus groups -

    to solidify functionality. They coordinate with Design to build a UI.
  23. Design For brand new applications, this process is much more

    involved: wireframes, mockups, prototypes, branding, etc all have to be made.
  24. Design For existing projects with style guides, layouts, etc in

    place, Designers usually create a mockup using existing assets for the engineering team.
  25. Engineering As soon as Product starts working on a feature,

    they’re working with engineering. Leads are assigned to the project, and projections are made.
  26. Engineering Technical challenges are outlined and estimated. Engineers are assigned

    to the task. Code gets written! Code gets reviewed. Code gets deleted and re-written.
  27. Testing Engineers write tests for their code, and QA runs

    through manual tests, or writes automated integration tests. Testing is a continuous process.
  28. Iterating Engineering and Product re-visit the feature and make changes

    to the code as they go along, or they change the expectations. They start with small pieces of the feature and build up from there.
  29. Eng + Prod Together, they develop the feature. Engineering makes

    technical implementation decisions, Product makes decisions about how that technology will be used.
  30. Beta Some companies have beta groups that test new features

    for them. The beta period is an opportunity to fine tune and improve features before releasing them to all users.
  31. Feedback Processing feedback is done best when there is a

    reliable, easy way of collecting it from your users.
  32. Understanding Use Metrics, error reporting, and analytics are tools that

    can be used to help you better understand how your feature is being used by customers and make changes to your code accordingly.
  33. Bugs There will (inevitably) be bugs that need fixing. Customers

    will communicate these to your company one way or another, and you fix them.
  34. Version X? Sometimes a feature comes out half baked. If

    this is the case, Product and Engineering take customer feedback and use it to come up with the next iteration or version of the product.
  35. Attribution From the Noun Project: ! Idea by Stefano Vetere

    Comment by Jardson A. Injection, Move, and Scrum by Dmitry Baranovskiy Cycle by Attilio Baghino Next by SuperAtic LABS Pawn wizard by Till Teenck Devices by San Salido Martínez