Feature Canvas Template
Analyse incoming features and ideas keeping in mind users, problems and context.
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About the Feature Canvas Template
A feature canvas helps you understand why a new feature was requested.
Before you dive into solution mode and build out a feature, try filling in a feature canvas. The grid layout helps you understand if investing time in a new feature will be valuable to your customers, meet business needs, and make the most of team resources.
Your product team may want to fill in a feature canvas after completing a product canvas. After developing expertise in who your customers are and what your product’s basic functionality should be, it’s time to dig deeper.
Feature canvases allow your team to build context and value propositions for feature requests. You'll make better product decisions by learning more about the risks and opportunities of some advanced features.
What is a feature canvas
Before you start working on a concrete solution for a new feature, you need to figure out the “why” that’s motivating it. A feature canvas helps you understand if you should commit to a new feature based on its feasibility and whether it truly solves customer pain points.
A feature canvas typically has seven segments:
An idea description: How would you describe the product feature in 2-3 sentences?
Why: How would implementing this product feature help your customers and your organization?
Contextual situations: When do people need this feature? How do internal and external factors impact how they interact with the feature?
Problems to solve: What are the customer and business problems this feature addresses?
Team capabilities: What resources are immediately available to you to help build new solutions to these problems?
Restrictions and limitations: What obstacles could stop your team from building these features right away?
By considering these different factors, you can decide what feature requests are worth building, and which ones aren’t worth following through. This is the basic version of a feature canvas, which can be adapted for any product feature idea.
When to use a feature canvas
You can use a feature canvas during planning or brainstorming sessions to sell your ideas or align your cross-functional teams on all the details. It can help you and your product team:
Spend more time defining a problem before you commit to building a new solution
Stay user-centered while analyzing new feature requests and ideas
Discard feature ideas that don’t fit current needs, user contexts, or business goals
Find blind spots to address in your user research before building new features
Align teams around the context you need to agree on before you commit to building a feature
You can also use this canvas to plan feature launch activities. These can include re-engaging dissatisfied customers, boosting customer retention and customer loyalty, and campaigns reminding your customers that your company is listening and considering feedback.
How to use the feature canvas template
Get started by selecting the feature canvas template, then take the following steps to make one of your own.
Give your team context about why you’re using the feature canvas. This canvas aims to help your team progress from execution mode to analysis mode. Context, customer problems, capabilities, and restrictions all impact whether or how you build out features. Get your product team to fill in this feature canvas in a single session, to understand the reasons for prioritizing certain features over others.
Fill in each numbered segment with sticky notes. Stick to one idea per sticky note. After placing all the notes, nominate a group facilitator to review them to determine what ideas to prioritize, and which to set aside for the near future. Spend 10 minutes on this, then assess whether you’re ready to move onto the next step. If not, try another five minutes.
Add other segments if needed. An extended feature canvas can have up to 14 segments, including: customer tasks, customer awareness, customer support needs, success criteria, and key activities to deliver customer and business value.
Invite cross-functional team members to review and contribute to your canvas. You can use this feature canvas as a one-off team synchronization tool or maintain it as a living document throughout a product’s life cycle – to implementation and beyond. Revisit it as necessary to update details or add more segments as your team’s analysis and planning needs evolve.
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