How To Avoid MVP Feature Creep

August 15, 2021

One of my favourite 5 minute tools to put to use at the early stages of developing a product strategy is the ICE scoring method: Impact, Confidence and Ease. This tool is an ultra fast hack to figure out what features you should be building.

This is only to be used when you’re at the point of planning your design/build sprint, and you’re figuring out what you can realistically do. This shouldn’t replace the overall product strategy process. There’s a whole lot of work that needs to be done before getting to this stage.

How the scoring system works

(Impact + Confidence + Ease) / 3 = Score

Create a list of features you’re considering. Next, using the formula above, we’re going to rate each from 1-3 in three categories: Impact, Confidence and Ease.

Impact

How much value will this feature provide to either the user or the business (or both)?

Really think about how important this feature is. Importance can be in relation to the user, the business or both. E.g. an important feature to a user is Airbnb’s ratings system. It instills trust when booking and allows the customer to have a voice. An important feature to the business would be a streamlined booking/checkout process. That helps sales.

Confidence

Reckon this is going to work as you intend it to?

This isn’t about gut feel – this is about whether the feature has been well researched or tested with your customer base. If it’s had success in testing, you can be confident it should work. If it’s untested, or it wasn’t received positively, it should get a low score.

For example, Airbnb’s ratings system is a feature you could be reasonably confident in. Ratings are nothing new, and they’ve been tested by countless other platforms prior to Airbnb. Its booking/checkout process is quite different. This is a really difficult thing to get right, and could even end up making things worse.

Ease

Time / cost to build

Pretty self explanatory, this one. Put monetary and time values against each feature you’re considering, and rate them in terms of how easy they are.


That’s it! Once you’ve ranked your prospective features, calculate the total score for each (`(Impact + Confidence + Ease) / 3 = Score`) and you should be able to very quickly narrow down what’s going into your product’s MVP.

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