There are 2 exercises I use to evaluate bringing differentiation into the products I'm building.
Where they originated
I came up with these frameworks in collaboration with Paul Pedrazzi (SVP, Salesforce) while we were working on a 0 → 1 product for small business. We repeatedly re-visited the artifacts of these exercises throughout the product development lifecycle.
What the outcome will be
A list of the Top 3 issues for your target user.
How to do it
User value mapping
You can do this exercise in conjunction with ‘What Sucks?’ or own its own.
A map of the most valuable, most unmet needs in the market. This can serve as your menu of options for where to focus on differentiating your product.
Choose a grouping from the “What Sucks?” exercise. For example, ‘Finding New Business.’ If you’re doing this exercise on its own, select a ‘Job to Be Done’ category.
Many teams do some version of these exercises early on in the product development lifecycle and then forget about them as they’re building the product. Timelines get tight, resources get shuffled and often the scope that can get cut is the differentiation you aimed to achieve.
Every Product Manager should call out and protect differentiation. It doesn’t need to be available in the first release of your product, but you should always be working towards some differentiation that can help you acquire new customers, a new market or retain existing customers.
While I don't use an existing framework specifically for product differentiation, I do use a variety of inputs to determine what lever to pull or what decision to make. These inputs can be found in the answer to the question, "What are the most important inputs to take into consideration when thinking through product differentiation?"
Other frameworks I do use: