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Deepti Srivastava
Head of Product, VP at December 12

Usually, there is a pre-determined prioritization framework that your product org should use to prioritize which problems to work on. There are multiple inputs with different weightage that are used in the prioritization framework, depending on the phase of the product, business and company.

The most common inputs are:

  • business and strategic product priorities
  • degree of user friction (eg: adoption blocker vs nice to have)
  • market and sales priorities (eg: is delivery of a feature important to win against a competitor in this cycle)
  • internal priorities (eg: technical debt removal, infrastructure upgrades etc.)
Ravneet Uberoi
Founder & CEO at | Formerly Matterport, Box, McKinseyAugust 31

One way I like to prioritize problems is based on the level of risk these will pose to the final solution. Which are the riskiest assumptions or riskiest bets that will affect the success of your product? (Risk can be defined crudely in terms of Low, Medium, High or in some cases you might have a model with some sensitivity analysis built in). Regardless, if you can quantify the risk (and thus impact) of the problem to the final solution, you have a clear blueprint of where to begin.

A related method is to consider one-way vs two-way decisions. One way decisions are challenging or impossible to reverse - these have multiple downstream effects on the solution. Two way decisions can be reversed easily or adjusted over time once you have more data. I prefer to focus my time and energy on one way decisions first, as these will build the pillars of the product. If there is considerable time or effort spent by your team on a two way decision, you can make the argument to come back to this once you have more information or once all the one way decisions have been made.