What to choose? How we prioritize development on Minutemailer

How we prioritize when developing Minutemailer

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No matter if your company or startup consists of 30 000 people or three you can’t do everything all the time. There will always be more ideas and paths forward than what you can explore. You somehow have to decide on what to work on. How do we do that on Minutemailer?

First we setup a general plan. What do we see as our main value proposition. What kind of product are we and for whom? What is the problem that Minutemailer solves?

The idea right now is that we are an easy to use contact management and activation tool that helps small businesses and people who aren’t that experienced in marketing and design keep in touch with their most valuable customers and contacts.

We think we can take the position as the easy to use CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool for people who don’t know what CRM is and just need to take better care of their contacts by keeping in touch, mainly using emails and great looking newsletters.

That narrows things down. We can remove everything that is complicated and advanced, at least for now.

We also see that what people are prepared to pay for is sending great looking newsletters and they choose and stay with Minutemailer because it’s easier to use than competitors.

We also need to make money on our service so converting users to customers is very important.

When you narrow it down what we focus on is:

  1. Making it easy to start using Minutemailer, understand it, import your contacts, send your first email and being able to pay. That journey has to really work otherwise we have nothing.
  2. Then we have to live up to our value proposition of helping our users by carefully pushing them in the right direction using templates, functions and content. Here we can really make a difference and take things further than anyone else. How can we help someone who have no marketing background work better with their content?
  3. Last on our list is more advanced functionality that goes in line with keeping in touch with your contacts. Things like integrations, automation and support for more channels like SMS. But we will only do those things if we can make it really, really easy and user friendly. Because it’s exactly that kind of more advanced functionality that makes our competitors difficult to use and overwhelms inexperienced users.

Another aspect of prioritizing is bug fixing versus new features. Bugs can be a real deal breaker for conversion and we’ve lost some customers due to badly timed bugs. But at the same time there will almost always be some bugs if you are a small startup.

What you have to look at is how critical is the bug, who will stumble on it and when in the user journey. As an example, if a few of our users under certain conditions, will get a bug where their interface looks a bit weird but they still can create emails and send them we don’t need to fix it right away. Giving us some more time to work on other things.

Our Trello backlog is huge as it should be. Most things will never be developed either because they aren’t prioritized or because they become out of date. But it’s always nice to have a lot of things to say no to.

Saying no is almost more important than saying yes to things. Every time you say yes to something means closing a lot of other doors. Maybe you should start by closing doors?

But sometimes you also have to take a chance and go on gut feeling. Maybe implementing a small fun feature can make a huge difference and if it only takes a few hours it can be worth a gamble. It should be fun to develop a product as well.

How do you prioritize your development or work?