3 reasons your feature development is going off course and how to fix it.

Prioritizing feature development for your application is ULTRA important, but chances are you're falling into one of these traps that is taking you off course and may tank your company. 

Trap #1 - Steve Jobs incarnate has founded your company.

Having a strong vision for your product is important, but listening to customer feedback and data is more important.  If your founder's "vision" for the product is the only thing driving its feature development it's probably going to fail.  Your founder's vision and reality distortion field were super important in getting you this far but now it's time to listen to your customers.  

Trap #2 - Your sales team is not providing you with useful customer feedback. 

Your sales team is likely your closest link to your customers and they need to be delivering customer feedback to your dev/product team.   As a CEO/Founder you need to make it crystal clear that anything they hear makes it back to you, if a sale is blocked because of a feature missng you need to know about it.  There is one caveat though....this can't become a crutch or excuse for sales so any feedback on features needs to be carefully gathered and confirmed.  I suggest using this list of 3 Bulletproof Feature Confirmation questions I have developed. 

Trap #3 - There is no one dedicated to the product management role. 

To my developer friends out there I love you, but there is no damn way I would let you drive feature development on your own.   Your urge to solve problems and knock off bugs is too great. When developers are left completely in charge of feature development (this also assumes little to no customer feedback) great things happen just not the things that need to happen in order to keep the company afloat.  I'm sure all of you out there know what I mean, some times a problem is just too sexy to leave alone and we end up working on it even though we should have been doing something else.  The same goes for a strong willed visionary company founder, a good product manager will be there to keep everyone in check and sort out what needs to be done when.

Business needs MUST drive product development.