Here is another addition to the decision tree to make life easier, it is called “Ghetto Testing” and coined by the founder of Zenga.
How do you figure out if you should go with a feature with minmal disruption to the company or its engineers, and how can you invest in it with the highest posible certainty of success? Ghetto Testing a feature. The concept is there are a wide range of data points you can aquire to guage interest on an idea before the idea is fleshed out. At the “Ghetto” stage, it sint so much a test of the product value or feature set itself, as much of a servey to see if the concept will get clicks or interest by the public. It’s basically an adhoc test market. If you think people will love feature x for instance, create a google adword promoting the vapor-ware concept and run it for 5,10,30 mins. The resulting page of the ad could technically go to a 404 page, and although that would be a horrible experience it still wouldbe a valid ghetto test.
From there you can invest incrementally into how deep of a gauge you want to testing of the idea i.e. a pretty landing page with feature highlights, a download, or a purchase wall.