Product Management – Removing Zombie Features

clutter-creativity-ftr.jpg

Usually no body thinks of removing old features which are not much used . Reason is mostly as we always concentrate on new and revenue generating features. Knowing the value by removing a old feature not in use is not thought about much.

There might be many good or bad reasons for remiving a old feature. Some of them which cross my mind are:

1. Simplified customer experience

Additional modules or menu items or settings make it difficult for new customers to find what is important. Even for experienced customers, every additional option adds “cognitive load” and makes a service feel less delightful, and more like work.

2. Reduced “load time” and increased speed of the servic

Sites with fast page load have higher conversion rates and more love from Google for search ranking. Most importantly, fast sites and apps respect our customers’ valuable time.

But, you may say, why not just hide the features for new or casual customers, or move them somewhere that only power users will see them? Unfortunately, doing so wouldn’t accomplish these other benefits:

3. Improved stability and reliability

Features introduce bugs unless they are regularly tested. The funny thing about software is that it often is intertwined in ways that make the consequences of changes difficult to predict. A decade ago, software companies would have employed armies of QA testers to do end to end tests on an app before releasing changes. The world is different now: we leverage test automation in addition to focused QA testing, and we move faster and introduce more innovations to market. However, despite best efforts, unintended consequences pop up, which take time and effort to diagnose and resolve.

4. Improved ability to innovate

Features add to code (software) complexity, and thus slow our ability to build or fix what is most important.

5. Ease of hiring and training new developers

Simpler code results in a lower learning curve.

6. Lowered cost of technology upgrades

When companies upgrade their underlying technology, features often need to be rebuilt. While I was at Urbanspoon, we upgraded the website to be responsive (so that our pages resize gracefully for tablets and phones). This required many if not all of our website features to be rebuilt.

However before you proceed make sure you have

  • segmented your usage data
  • informed and spoken to your most local and vocal customers
  • tested thoroughly
  • removed features in groups – impact is lesser

 

Advertisements
Product Management – Removing Zombie Features

5 Awesome Data Analytics tools

  1. Segment  – Collect customer data with one API and send it to hundreds of tools for analytics, marketing, and data warehousing.
  2. Zendesk – Zendesk makes it easy to support customers when they need your help. Zendesk also makes it easy for them to help themselves when they don’t.
  3. Stripe – Stripe is a suite of APIs that powers commerce for businesses of all sizes.
  4. Mixpanel – World’s most advanced mobile & web analytics.
  5. MailChimp – Online email marketing solution to manage subscribers, send emails, and track results. Offers integrations with other programs.

 

5 Awesome Data Analytics tools

Kano Model

Kano_model_showing_transition_over_time

It classifies customer preferences into five categories.

1. Must-be Quality 
These attributes are taken for granted when fulfilled but result in dissatisfaction when not fulfilled. An example of this would be a package of milk that leaks. Customers are dissatisfied when the package leaks, but when it does not leak the result is not increased customer satisfaction. Since customers expect these attributes and view them as basic, it is unlikely that they are going to tell the company about them when asked about quality attributes.
2. One-dimensional Quality 
These attributes result in satisfaction when fulfilled and dissatisfaction when not fulfilled. These are attributes that are spoken and the ones in which companies compete. An example of this would be a milk package that is said to have ten percent more milk for the same price will result in customer satisfaction, but if it only contains six percent then the customer will feel misled and it will lead to dissatisfaction.
3. Attractive Quality 
These attributes provide satisfaction when achieved fully, but do not cause dissatisfaction when not fulfilled. These are attributes that are not normally expected, For example, a thermometer on a package of milk showing the temperature of the milk. Since these types of attributes of quality unexpectedly delight customers, they are often unspoken.
4. Indifferent Quality 
These attributes refer to aspects that are neither good nor bad, and they do not result in either customer satisfaction or customer dissatisfaction. For example, thickness of the wax coating on a milk carton. This might be key to the design and manufacturing of the carton, but consumers are not even aware of the distinction.
5. Reverse Quality 
These attributes refer to a high degree of achievement resulting in dissatisfaction and to the fact that not all customers are alike. For example, some customers prefer high-tech products, while others prefer the basic model of a product and will be dissatisfied if a product has too many extra features.

What does it do?

kano-model__home

  • To communicate 5 universal categories of customer requirements that all product and service developers need to be aware of in order to remain competitive.
  • To show how each of these 5 universal categories can influence satisfaction and dissatisfaction.
  • To show how 2 of the categories add value and 2 of the categories detract from value, and 1 of the categories creates new value.
  • To help organizations understand their customer needs better than their customers understand their own needs.
  • To provide a mechanism to help organizations understand and classify all potential customer requirements or features into these 5 categories so they can prioritize development efforts on the things that most influence satisfaction and loyalty. This is done by the Kano Survey, or sometimes called a Kano Analysis.

Source : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kano_model, Google Images, http://www.kanomodel.com/

Image

Why beacons’ bright light dimmed in 2015 — and what’s next Beacons were the ‘bright object’ of this year that no longer seem so shiny. But retailers with a broader mobile strategy could yet find them useful.

Beacons, the low-powered radio transmitters employing Bluetooth connectivity to find and communicate with nearby smartphones, was one of this year’s hot retail topics. Beacons in store can trigger push notifications to beam special offers or useful content to shoppers’ phones.

Sounds like a brick-and-mortar retailer’s dream, right?

After all, 80% of customers say they’re more likely to engage with retailers’ apps while shopping if they get notifications on deals and discounts, according to a study from Swirl. And some 62% of respondents said they’d engage if content is customized to their preferences and “likes.”

But there’s a decidedly mixed pattern of views on the future of beacons, with some saying their ubiquity is just a matter of time and others saying their utility is more limited than initially thought, and not so much in marketing.

In reality, 2016 is not likely to see a huge number of retailers jump on the beacon bandwagon. More likely, retailers will take a step back and assess the potential of mobile more broadly as a part of their in-store strategy.

“Beacons were the shiny object in 2015, and there was a lot of investment in them,” retail futurist Doug Stephens told Retail Dive. “I think that what relailers are discovering is that beacons may not simply be yet another channel through which promotion and messaging get shoved down to shoppers. I think we’re going to mature beyond that.”

Who’s using beacons

Macy’s, Sephora, Target, GameStop, and Lowe’s, and, frankly, most larger retail chains have at least tested beacons in their stores. That has allowed reporters, bloggers, and consultants to suss out how they work in the real world. From a nuts and bolts standpoint, in some cases some simple tweaksseem to be in order, like making sure batteries are charged, antennas are properly oriented without interference, and beacons are placed well. 

Otherwise, the tech can be touchy. Sometimes, for example, beacons will greet customers repeatedly after already having entered a store if they happen to pass near the entrance. Then there are the aspects out of a retailer’s control; the Bluetooth connectivity must be on and a retailer’s app must be downloaded onto the phone for beacons to communicate. 

Beyond such nitty-gritty details, though, many customers aren’t very appreciative of the tech’s “smart” features, reporting, for example, that getting a coupon for an item they’re looking at can be creepy. So one reason beacons have failed to emerge as a major retail force is that the technology hasn’t yet been refined to be really useful to the shopper.

“From a consumer standpoint, using beacons is sort of a hassle, when it involves downloading and installing an app that doesn’t relate to the users’ lifestyle,” Kim Stuart, COO of mobile wallet marketing services vendor Atlas Rewards Corp., told Contently. “Most companies fail to realize that spending the money to create (and then support) an app is a fruitless enterprise on their part [because] they don’t have a user base that’s large enough to make it worthwhile.” 

It may be hard to believe that independent tech consultant Hari Gottipati is even still a fan of beacons, considering that his initial impression, two years ago, of the tech’s usefulness has largely fizzled. But he now believes, reportsBloomberg, that the technology will be more useful to customers in their homes, helping them to manage their connected devices, rather then in stores helping them to shop.

‘More than a hammer’

Yet, while beacons may be falling flat as a marketing tool, they could remain valuable to retailers as a source of data, some observers say. And if consumers begin to use them and find them helpful in other contexts, retailers could find them more receptive to them in store as well. 

“Retailers might recognize that beacons are not so much a push platform, but a pull platform,” Stephens says. “They should be giving consumers the ability to pull info from a beacon at their behest. They can use that interaction as a means of measuring the desire that consumers are bringing, how they’re using the store experience.”

“Shoppers are looking for information about price, reviews, performance,” he continued. “Retailers haven’t been good at consistent sales floor support, but beacons could be a great way of providing information, and of measuring which products they’re interested in. 2015 is the year that we took this hammer that is beacons, and everything looked like a nail. In 2016 think retailers will realize that it’s a much more useful tool than just being a hammer.”

Different approaches

A more refined approach may already be under way at Target, which has been working with indoor mapping technology company Point Inside since last year to map each store, reflecting the unique layouts and shopping patterns of each neighborhood spot, and, as Point Inside CEO Josh Marti puts it, treating each shelf like a web page on e-commerce.

“Beacons are extremely helpful for so many things,” Marti told Retail Dive. “They can helpful to a retailer in understanding how to reorder your shopping list or understanding how to dispatch associates or understanding wait times—and there are so many more things that they can do.”

But, Marti says, beacons aren’t the key or even a necessary part of a retailer’s mobile strategy. For example, beacons could help shoppers know ahead of time if the item they seek is at their local Target. Even better, he says, physical retailers can take a page from Amazon and suggest other items that are also in store using machine learning technology.

“You can actually use shoppers’ mobile searches and what’s on their list to project their location in the store, you don’t necessarily need beacons,” he says. “The retailer has so many physical assets, the shopper already knows how to engage with that.”

Bottom line, says Marti, retailers must continue to develop both their mobile web and mobile app capabilities to communicate with their customers on and offline. And the communication should go both ways, to the benefit of both.

“For right now, given the landscape, it’s safe to say that in the next three years, retailers with a loyal following in the 10 million category should continue to focus on their mobile brand and strategy for their loyal shoppers,” he says. “We used to debate mobile web or app—but it has to be both.”

A good web experience can lead shoppers to your app, where there’s higher conversion and basket size “both in store and through that app.” 

With or without beacons.

Why beacons’ bright light dimmed in 2015 — and what’s next Beacons were the ‘bright object’ of this year that no longer seem so shiny. But retailers with a broader mobile strategy could yet find them useful.

Best Friend – Email

Article about what every Product Manager should know about email:

Email has been and continues to be one of the strongest and easiest methods of increasing every single one of the pirate metrics (activation, acquisition, retention, referral, revenue) and is a channel every product manager should understand. It’s incredibly easy to test different calls to action, subject lines, images and more — without having to do a single deploy. Ever since leaving the realm of email, I’ve noticed that those skills are an incredibly useful tool to have in your arsenal as a product manager. So without further ado…

11 Things to Know

  1. No Development Resources Needed. This may be the biggest benefit of email for a product manager. If you have a theory, it’s quick to test and validate. If it’s a dud, all you’ve lost is some of your own time. For example, if you wanted to win back churned users, you could run a query to find said users over different time periods (6 month churn, 12 month churn, etc), then send them an email campaign and compare rates of return. Success or failure, either way you’re learning something about your users.
  2. You Can Measure Performance Right Away. Most email services include engagement tracking as well as a UI layer that visualizes the data for you. This means you don’t have to set up/pay for your own data collection or visualizer. You can even add a level of sophistication by attributing categories to different types of mail, and create dashboards that compare category performance over time. You can learn how your users’ interests change over time, what times and days of the week they are most active, and even test the virality of your content..
  3. You Can Test Changes Quickly. I can’t emphasize this point enough. You can get a statistically significant sample of users for an email program very quickly, and once you have a baseline of stats you can start testing changes to the email. Within a week’s time you could have tested 5+ changes to a welcome email.
  4. How to Nudge Users Towards Certain Actions. Email click rates are gold for product managers when you want to nudge your users towards an action that’s likely to extend the lifetime value of a customer. In this case, it helps to know how to write a compelling call to action. Tips: Use a different text color (or a button/image) to emphasize the action. Keep it above the fold so users see it right away.
  5. How to Catch Users At the Right Time: For the average working professional, stick with mornings (8–9am). For a high school or college kid, send at night after they’re back from class (after 7pm). If you don’t know, you can find this out after a few emails go out and looking at stats on open times. Some email services will even allow you to schedule an email to arrive at a certain time in each user’s timezone, or at the time that individual user is most likely to open an email (here you go).
  6. Different Ways to Tailor Content: From substitution tags (easy) to triggered emails (requires developers), there are many ways to personalize emails for each user. Substitution tags are how you get emails that read “Hey [name],” — within an editor it actually looks something like “Hey <%first_name%>,” and pulls from the information the company has about each user.
  7. How to Schedule Emails Based on Specific User Actions: Triggered emails are based on specific user behaviors and are often used to increase retention or revenue. Those emails you get when you put something in your shopping cart and leave the website are a perfect example. Triggered emails have a 152% greater open rate than traditional one-size-fits-all emails (source).
  8. Subject Lines and Preheader Text Are Your User’s First Experience With Your Content: To stand out in a busy inbox, it’s important to obsess over how these 3 things look: the “from name” (who the email is from — did you know you can customize this?), subject line, and preheader text.Tip: keep subject lines brief and include the date constraint if you have one. For example: “Sneak Peek of X New Feature Next Week?” (more examples)
  9. Use Plaintext Emails to Convey an Informal Tone: In most email apps, you can choose to send an email in plaintext (no HTML formatting), which gives off a more conversational tone. If you’re sending out an email to customers asking for help beta testing a feature or to interview them, you can save time by uploading a list and sending a plaintext email to make it feel more personal.
  10. What Success Means in Email. Oftentimes it’s hard to compare stats with other companies because your apps are different and you each have different success metrics. Email at least is widely used and has different agreed-upon categories that you can use as baselines. Each company has its own “best practice” open rate, clickthrough rate, etc. to aim for in emails, but when you’re getting started there are some general numbers any company can aim for. Open rates above 20% and clickthrough rates above 2% are generally considered good. MailChimp also has a greatbreakdown by industry.
  11. Unsubscribes Are Nuanced. Many companies wrongly use a global unsubscribe link in all their emails, which is sadly a waste. Many users are just trying to unsubscribe from a specific type of email (i.e. promotions) when they click your unsubscribe link. They may not know they’re also unsubscribing from important alerts, digital receipts, and other wanted emails. Make sure you’re implementing a group/category-based unsubscribe system.

Resources

Best Friend – Email

Secrets of the Internet – Gist

Here is the gist of learnings for making new and exciting products

  1. Secrets are at the core of every big innovation.
  2. Entrepreneurs should focus on discovering secrets about human behavior, which are cheap to discover but can have a massive impact.
  3. Behavioral secrets are plentiful whenever major changes in interface occur.
  4. For startups, secrets need to quickly turn behavioral insights into network effects to sustain competitive advantage.

2015-12-07_1309

Secrets of the Internet – Gist