Don’t create features, solve problems.

William Pietri, responding to a question on Quora asking whether it’s best to tell the product team what to do or empower them to bring the right product to market.

William continues:

If you’re telling (your product team) “go build Feature X” and expect them to make the thing you imagine, they’re going to want a spec. Instead, have them solve problems. E.g., “Users are struggling with problem Y; come up with some solutions, test them out, and then let’s pick the best one together.”

This perfectly frames the trouble with defining a product by its features. Features alone ignore the purpose of the product and how it’s going to serve its users and your business.

Don’t focus on features, focus on the market and how you’re going to deliver value to them. Then design your product around solving problems that deliver that value. The features are defined by the problem solving, not the other way around.