One thing I love about software is that there are very few limits to what you can do. Basically if you can imagine it, it can be done. After all it is all ones-and-zeros. One implication of this is that it is easy to think up new features for a software product. What developer hasn’t dreamed up an idea for making VS better or some new API for the framework? But features in and of themselves don’t make for a great product. What is important in planning great products is not the features, it is the value proposition that the features enables, and consequently this is the really the hard work for planning.
After mulling this over for a while yesterday, I decided to search the large percentage of the world’s knowledge that is embodied in the web and I stumbled upon these two definitions:
contain something as important element: to have or present somebody or something as an important element of something
statement of business strategy: a statement of the way a business proposes to use its resources to deliver superior value to its customers
What I think is cool here is that a feature is necessarily a part of something bigger… it in and of itself is not the end goal. While a value proposition is about the end value we deliver to our customers. I wonder how software products would be different if we focused more on the value propositions we enable rather then the next cool feature.