Armed with a powerful product vision and a set of strategic objectives that align with both, the vision and organization-wide goals, you can start thinking about the roadmap itself. Namely, which product initiatives belong on the roadmap and where they belong relative to one another.

It’s important to understand where to source the feature ideas to evaluate. Your list of ideas and proposed features shouldn’t be pulled out of thin air; you should do your best to put a system in place for collecting feature ideas and including as many sources as possible.

Let’s look at a few sources of ideas for new product features and initiatives.

Where to Find Ideas for New Features

Customer Feedback

Your customers know better than just about anyone what your product needs. Ask them for feedback, but remain aware that this is a biased data sample. And, don’t allow one-off feature requests to distract you from your overarching product vision.

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Analytics & Metrics

Objective data is far more compelling than opinion. If you have real-world user data on your product or similar products, then you already have a great source of business intelligence to inform which ideas might be worth pursuing.

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Your goal, of course, is to bring a unique and valuable product to the market. But competitors offer valuable data. Learn what customers like about competing products, what they don’t like, and what they wish they had. Just make sure to steer clear of copycat products by thinking strategically about differentiation.

Marketing, Sales and Customer Success

Look no further than other teams within your own company for valuable product intelligence. Your sales reps and customer success managers are in constant communication with prospective clients and customers. Ask them about common feature requests, usage trends, and complaints.

Analyst Research

Study industry reports about your category of product (i.e. analyst firms like Gartner and Forrester) to determine what types of products work, with whom, and why.

Reminder_IconReminder: As a product manager, you shouldn’t be expected to come up with every new product feature. Good ideas can come from anywhere. By the same token, bad ideas can also come from anywhere (including your executive team, your biggest customers, and your smartest engineer). Your responsibility is to decide which of those ideas should be added to the roadmap and see the light of day. And that’s where feature prioritization comes into play.