How to think about building features at the beta stage?

It’s been an interesting journey for me as a product person, building Workomo over last few months. Having anchored the company mission on my personal pain point, the product roadmap for Workomo (at least for next 24 months) is quite clear in my head. Still, it’s not been easy to think through the order & prioritization of building features. This is a completely new “0-to-1” challenge for me as in my previous roles at Alibaba, Quixey and IDG Ventures, I was mostly used to evaluating, building & scaling products with at least some existing user traction.

As I work towards the private beta release of Workomo, the following frameworks have been really helpful for me in product planning:

  1. Running Lean by Ash Maurya — I really identify with the Lean way of building early stage products. While certain elements of the Lean process haven’t worked particularly well in my case (mockup based proto, hacking a solution without UI/ UX considerations), I have actively used the major core principles of Lean philosophy — iterative approach, user-pull over company-push, maniacally tracking return-on-effort, avoiding wastage, only focusing on 1–2 activities that matter at this stage of the startup. Though, it’s important to point out that I have found the need to adapt these approaches to my context by suitably modifying them.
  2. Focusing on the product’s “Atomic Unit” — I learned of this concept via a recent LinkedIn post by Pravin Jadhav. It was originally articulated by Fred Wilson in this 2012 post. What are the atomic units of popular products? Twitter — tweet, LinkedIn — resume, Instagram — picture, Gmail — email, Dropbox — file. It’s a lovely way to think about your product stack. For Workomo, the atomic unit is “a contact”. And that’s what I am building first for the private beta release.

I was on a Zoom call today morning — the moment I ended it, I received this version update pop-up, with following new features:

Zoom is releasing features like confirm starting video when joining a meeting, dropbox integration etc. ONLY AFTER going public!! Just proves that as early stage founders, we need to be much, much more disciplined about building additional features into our products.

Ultimately, there will be one, core UVP feature that will mainly drive user adoption. Our job as product founders is to discover & build it in an iterative manner while burning through minimum set of cycles.

PS: Workomo is your smart & simple professional relationships management hub. If you are sick of managing your networks on an excel sheet, do sign-up for free private beta access.

Author: Soumitra Sharma

Operator-Angel I Product Leader I US-India corridor I Believer in Power Laws I Love building & learning

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