At best, most product organizations have a list of requirements to meet, and, more typically, they simply have a set of features to develop. Designing and developing to requirements and feature lists leads to unsatisfactory experiences, because you’re no longer oriented to the perspective of the user. As you make decisions along the way, your concerns for features, data, and technology trumps serving the customer. This is in large part because you have those requirements and feature lists in front of you, but nothing to represent the experiential point of view.
— from Experience IS the Product by Peter Merholz (Adaptive Path)
I think that it’s very true. I often receive briefs with a ‘features list’ but without any objective. And often they want to spend tens or hundreds of thousands euros on it. With no precise objective to drive the design. That would be the first step.
The second step means going from generic objectives to experience objectives. One, two or three points about your project.
Take Flickr for example:
- We want to help people make their photos available to the people who matter to them.
- We want to enable new ways of organizing photos.
— from Flickr about page
But don’t miss the whole article, it’s interesting, with some bits of history that helps giving more examples than ‘Apple’ all the times. ;)