A feature canvas template is a helpful tool to consider, reconsider, understand, and accept (or, sometimes, refuse) new features and why they are requested in the first place. Your and your team’s time is valuable, and you can’t waste it on something that might turn out to be useless.
Filling in a feature canvas will help you understand whether it is worth it or not. Maybe there’s something more important you may work on to meet your customers' and business needs without sacrificing your team’s resources.
A feature canvas is a next step of a product canvas. It helps you to see every detail of one big picture. It allows you to dive as deep as possible to determine all of your product’s main points. And it might be successfully used at any stage of your current project.
What is a feature canvas template?
New ideas or proposals might be a powerful motivation to start immediately. You might be bored with your current tasks, so jumping to something new will be tempting. However, sometimes they are only the tip of the iceberg. You see what is on the surface while the most dangerous part is hidden.
When you start working on your new idea, you might abruptly see that it had no point from the beginning, but you or the whole team has already wasted your time. A feature canvas helps you avoid such a mistake.
A feature canvas template will save you time and prevent you from going in the wrong direction. Sometimes, teams skip this step because they think it’s too much of a bother. Some, in the best case, talk it through with their teammates. However, this feature canvas in the form of conversation might not always be useful.
When do I need a feature canvas?
Many teams devote more time to building a solution than defining the problem. At the end of the day, they have a solution that doesn’t work for a current issue. Or even worse, they have a solution that is useless, but the time was invested, a valuable resource was wasted. How to avoid such a destiny? Use a feature canvas template because…
- Usually, defining the problem is 95% of the solution. And a feature canvas is a tool that allows you to research and consider your issue from all angles.
- Feature canvas is useful because it can be a separate tool for learning your current resources and tasks and can become a part of your brainstorming sessions.
- It helps your team consider new features while being concentrated on your customers’ needs.
- It will assist you with finding (if there are some) blind spots and unresolved issues concerning your customers.
- Give up on useless ideas straight away.
- Keep all your teammates on the same page regarding what you’re working on.
How to use a feature canvas with your team?
Making your own feature canvas is easier with the xTiles feature canvas template. You may use a big screen to fill it in with your team during your brainstorming sessions. You also may send it to your teammates before the session so everyone comes with the answers you discuss together. However, we suggest you all fill it in together. That’s how you learn to think and create together.
We offer you a ready-to-go feature canvas template where half of the task is already done. You just need to fill in the necessary information. To make it even easier, we have a little guide on how to fill your feature canvas.
- Define and describe your idea. We don’t need pages of explanations. A few sentences will be enough.
- Why do I/we need to implement this feature? Again, explain in a couple of sentences how this new feature will help your customers, your product, or your company.
- Context is king. When do people need this exact feature? What factors affect their interaction with the feature?
- What problems will this feature resolve? Answering this question, think not only about your customers but also about your business.
- What is the value of your new feature? What will your customers get after you present them with your new feature?
- Can your team manage this task right now? Revisit your capabilities wisely.
- What obstacles might arise? Analyze what restrictions there might be.
Now that you know what exactly needs to be in your feature canvas, let’s see how a team can work together to fill it.
- Provide your team with context. Tell them the whole story about how the idea was developed, by whom, and what thoughts already were announced. Maybe there were some requests from customers. Or maybe someone from your team got this idea. Share all you have.
- Fill in all of your thoughts answering questions. It’s okay if some of your teammates have controversial or contradictional thoughts. You still need to add them to your canvas. Sometimes truth is born in controversy.
- Talk through all that you’ve got. This step may take place the next day, so everyone can “digest” everything that was said. Please, be tolerant of others’ thoughts while you’re discussing the subject. In case you're still far from understanding whether a feature is worth trying or not, you may go another round with the data you just filtered.
Feature canvas template is only one of many tools teams use to build their work process. However, it saves you time and energy when used correctly and regularly. A feature canvas template is also a great training tool. After some time, it becomes easier to see whether some proposed feature has potential and is worth your energy.