What is buy a feature?

Buy a feature (BAF) is one of many prioritizing strategies.

It assists businesses in determining which aspects customers and key stakeholders value the most. Buy-a-Feature allows product managers to involve stakeholders and customers in helping to create their products and prioritize features based on their projected value return.

Buy a feature is played in the form of a game, in which stakeholders are each given a fixed amount of play money to spend on their chosen features, with each feature’s price determined by the expected development expenses of that feature.

The Importance of the Buy A Feature method

When it comes to refining a product, the buy-a-feature method is a tremendously useful prioritizing technique.

It doesn’t matter if your team is trying to pare down a long list of feature requests or you’re trying to figure out what your target market wants. The game will help you figure out which features would encourage people to purchase your product and which ones are just a waste of money.

Buying a feature is a typical strategy used by product managers to directly engage stakeholders with their product and to prioritize features based on their projected value return, thereby customizing the product to meet the needs of the entire organization.

The Benefits of using Buy A Feature

●     You can empower your consumers or stakeholders to prioritize their ideas by bringing them together as a group and providing them with a limited quantity of resources.

●     The buy-a-feature method enables in-depth discussions about individual features, which helps you gain a better grasp of what your clients truly desire. Therefore, you may try to develop your product in response to these needs, resulting in something that customers will love and to which they will remain loyal, ultimately resulting in a more successful business.

How to use the Buy A Feature method

There are numerous different ways to go about buying a feature. However, it is normally preferable to do so in person rather than online.

As previously noted, the talks that take place between participants are critical to understanding their decision-making process, and these tend to be hindered in virtual communication settings because of technological limitations. The game is divided into four major stages.

1. Make your features ready.

To begin, you’ll need a list of the product’s features. Your list of features will vary depending on the type of product you’re building, and while the framework is referred to as buy-a-feature, your list may contain product updates such as bug repairs, user flow adjustments, and performance enhancements among others.

However, it is a good idea to limit your selection to only the aspects for which you require feedback to make the activity simple.

In addition, you will need to allocate a price to each item on the list, which should be based on the proportional development costs of the items on the list. If you want to charge more for more sophisticated features, for example, charge more because they will require more money, time, and effort to implement.

2. Assign a budget to each participant.

Having determined your list of features and assembled your participants, it’s time to assign them a financial budget. This phase impacts how accurate the findings will be: if participants have too much money, they will not think twice about the features they purchase; if they have too little money, they will not be able to purchase the features they require.

A reasonable rule of thumb is to provide enough money to purchase half of the features, which drives participants to think about which ones they want.

You’ll need to choose a physical form of “money” for your project. Make sure to use something other than real currency (such as pounds or dollars), such as poker chips, Monopoly money, or jelly beans, because you don’t want participants to get overly literal when it comes to the actual expenses.

3. Keep an eye on the participants as they play.

This is the most crucial stage of the game since it allows you to discover the group’s priorities. In the course of their contacts and discussions, they will gain invaluable information about which features of your product are considered the most significant by your target market.

Playing the role of the shopkeeper can help you and/or your product team learn more about what participants value and why they value them in particular ways. During this process, participants are sold on the features, questions are answered, and the thinking processes that went into their purchases are revealed.

The game will continue until all of the money has been spent or until all of the features that the players desire have been purchased, whichever comes first. It’s critical to emphasize that it’s acceptable to have money left over at the end of the transaction because you don’t want individuals purchasing features solely to get rid of their remaining funds.

4. Go over your purchases one more time


As soon as the game is over, you can get down to the business of making money. The purpose of this stage is for participants to talk you through their decisions, both individually and as a group, to gain deeper insights into the demands of your target market.

When should you use the buy-a-feature method?

If you’re feeling out of touch with your important stakeholders, the framework can be a powerful tool for increasing communication and transparency. Customers can also gain a better understanding of why it may be difficult for businesses to give everything all at once by demonstrating the limited resources available and putting them into context.

Also noteworthy is the fact that buy-a-feature is an excellent alternative if you’ve previously exhausted all other avenues of market research with little or no success.

Whether it’s a failed customer survey in which the responses revealed no correlation or an online poll that was plagued by trolls, creating reliable, representative samples in today’s dog-eat-dog environment is becoming increasingly difficult to do. However, buy-a-feature accomplishes this in a dependable manner and with low expenditures.


When it comes to product management, it is common for managers to believe that all customers want the same things.

However, this could not be further from the truth. If you were to work one-on-one with customers and give them a set of options, you would almost certainly receive a wide range of diverse preferences and be left with no clear concept of how to prioritize them.

To reveal how buyers truly feel about your product’s qualities, both positively and negatively, ask yourself the following questions:

●     What factors influenced their decision to choose one feature over another?

●     What prompted those two participants to pool their resources to purchase your most costly feature?

●     What was it about your cheapest feature that they didn’t like?

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