Scott Barstow writes a blog series focused on helping untechnical founders successfully start and launch technology companies without lighting their money on fire. He is a venture partner at Sovereign’s Capital and an adviser to multiple startups in Raleigh-Durham and elsewhere. Here, he shares with Startup Southerner a succinct and spot-on solution to a big problem for startups:
You’re sitting in your product meeting looking at the product backlog, trying to decide what features are the most important ones to work on next. Most often, these decisions are based not on real data but on so-called intuition. Here’s another way.
For each feature, ask yourself and the team these two questions:
Which customer am I doing this work for?
How will this help my business?
The temptation, particularly when you have a team of developers needing something to work on, is to bypass the really hard questions of how this feature really adds value for your customers. Here’s a simple sentence that I’ve started using both in my own projects and with companies I work with:
“We are building <feature name> for <a specific customer profile> because it will help us do one or more of the following: <acquire, activate, retain, generate revenue, get referrals>.”
If you can’t, with a straight face, convince yourself and the rest of your team that this sentence is true, don’t proceed with the feature. The above sentence is based on Dave McClure’s AARRR (Pirate) Metrics Framework, which is a must-read for any entrepreneur.