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Product success isn't about the features we ship, but the outcomes they drive.

By: Clara Vincenc-Cismaru, Product Management Consultant & Strategic Thought Partner, Key&Spark

Did you know that around 80 % of product features are rarely or never used❓

This staggering figure comes from multiple studies, including a detailed report by Pendo, which highlights that publicly traded cloud software companies collectively invested up to $29.5 billion in developing these features. These dollars could have been spent on higher-value features and unrealized customer value.

It’s easy to get caught up in the rush to ship features.* We feel productive when we can check off tasks and release new updates.

But what if we told you that shipping features aren’t the objective measure of success?

True success lies in the outcomes those features drive.

Customers have always wanted solutions to problems rather than products or services.

As Harvard Business School Professor Theodore Levitt once wrote:

“People don’t want a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.”

Think of it this way:

- Outputs are the features you release.

- Outcomes are the changes in user behavior and business results those features create.

When we focus on outcomes, we align our efforts with our users' real needs and goals.

This shift in mindset helps us create more meaningful, impactful products.

Moreover, many companies struggle because they lack the measures to determine whether their shipped features are helpful.

Without these metrics, it’s challenging to know if the new features meet user needs or drive the desired business outcomes.

So, next time you're planning your roadmap, ask yourself:

  • Why are we doing this? What's the outcome we're driving?
  • How will this feature change our users' lives or our business metrics?
  • How do we want to implement this outcome in the best way possible?

Focusing on the outcomes and implementing measures to track feature use and effectiveness ensures that every feature we build genuinely matters.

Let’s focus on what counts—creating products that ship and succeed. 🌟

If you're ready to make this shift, we’re here to help guide the way.

*Note: Shipping features means to complete the development, testing, and release process of new functionalities or enhancements to a software product.)