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What is your end to end process for prioritizing features on your roadmap?

Krishna Panicker
Krishna Panicker
Airbase VP ProductMarch 8

I wrote this post that covers a high level framework I use, aka Value stacking: 

https://medium.com/@TheUpstartGuy/value-stacking-multiplying-product-growth-88230ee4cfc2

I will post a follow up on medium in which I'll deep dive on prioritisation, but there are many frameworks already in use out there, but the thing that I see missing is a coherent vision or strategy that provides direction that should inform your prioritisation.

1158 Views
Aleks Bass
Aleks Bass
Typeform Chief Product OfficerJune 15

Prioritization is the most important role of the product management function, and there seems to be a general sense that there is one major moment of prioritization that culminates in a completed roadmap. The reality is that the exercise in prioritization starts much earlier. Like many organizations, we are resource-constrained and have many more ideas than we can realistically action. Therefore, prioritization is one of the most important things we can do to help the company succeed. This means we are constantly prioritizing at all levels of work, not just the roadmap items.

Prioritization starts with the product strategy, and decisions around what we want the product to be known for, who the target buyer and users are, and how we plan to differentiate from other key players. It continues as you prioritize the problem spaces PMs and Designers are encouraged to explore and validate. It continues still as the opportunity sizes and strategic alignment of those problem spaces surface ones we choose to pursue solutions for, and so on and so forth. By the time you get to the prioritization of features for a roadmap, you have already made a series of decisions around priority that have led you there. We craft specific stages and ceremonies within our product development lifecycle to intentionally make those choices in a less biased and more intentional way.

Even with the best prioritization processes though, you may still find yourself comparing a series of features to each other, trying to decide which is a priority for your roadmap. In this case, here are some elements our team thinks through:

  1.  Strategic Alignment - Are these items helping us intentionally pave our way to our intended future state, or are they requests that aren’t well aligned to our vision?
  2.  Perceived Value - Will customers/prospects find this feature or product valuable, especially when compared to the competition?
  3.  Technical Feasibility - Can we build it with the people, tools, and expertise we have?
  4.  Commercial Viability - Will this product or feature provide a positive financial impact on the business?
  5.  Product Differentiation - Will this help us differentiate against the competition?
  6.  Retention/Expansion Driver - Will this help us keep our existing customers happy, or provide opportunities to expand into other user groups, use cases, buyers, or fulfill other market needs?

Depending on where your team lands on the quant/qual continuum you could simply assess these (or similar) elements categorically and make a call, or if you really like to be a bit more concrete, you can create a scorecard that you use to evaluate all features or initiatives against this set of criteria of your choosing.

854 Views
Brandon Green
Brandon Green
Buffer Staff Product ManagerAugust 16

I could give a really detailed answer about my process, but I don't really have one. I've found that my "prioritization process" is actually pretty simple and is about attempting to answer the questions I listed out below (will repeat them here):

  1. What, fundamentally is the problem this idea is meant to solve? How worth it is solving that problem vs. others I know about? Does solving this problem create opportunities or risks in any form that I should think about?
  2. Is this a problem I need to solve now, in 6 months, in 2 years, etc.? What's the risk of just putting it off?
  3. Has this idea been validated in some form already (even without product development)? What's the "why" behind this being an idea? Is there a good hypothesis around it?
  4. If it hasn't been tested yet, is there a low-cost iteration of this idea that my team could build and test quickly? What (rough swag) impact or learnings could a low-cost iteration yield?

Then, it's a matter of developing a sequence that makes sense based on the answers to those questions. You could tackle this with 2 final questions:

5. Do any of these ideas directly depend on another, or would my perspective significantly change based on the learnings gathered from any particular idea?

6. Are there any irreversible decisions (business or technical) involved to ship any of these features? If so, do any of the features make sense to build and learn from to help make that decision?

If I can answer those questions effectively for the features on my list, the roadmap starts to write itself :) 

605 Views
Paresh Vakhariya
Paresh Vakhariya
Atlassian Director of Product Management (Confluence)June 22

Generally the process I follow to prioritize features is:

  • Aggregating feedback: from customers, users, and stakeholders through various avenues

  • Review User metrics to help identify pain points, feature requests etc.

  • Align feature prioritization with long term Vision/Strategy (This needs to be defined ahead of the prioritization exercise)

  • Assess the potential impact and value of each feature using factors such as customer metrics, market trends, competitive analysis, and alignment with company goals/OKR's/metrics.

  • Evaluate the effort required to develop each feature, considering factors such as development time, complexity, dependencies, and resource availability.

  • Prioritize using frameworks such as RICE prioritization framework (Reach, Impact, Confidence, Effort) to rank and prioritize features based on their importance, urgency, and potential impact.

  • Identify any dependencies between features and evaluate the implications of implementing them in a specific order.

  • Get feedback from key stakeholders on your prioritization

  • Continuously review and reassess the feature priorities based on all of the above.

1107 Views
Abhiroop Basu
Abhiroop Basu
Square Product ManagerOctober 24

The simple answer is to prioritize the features that will bring your customers the most value and consequently drive the most revenue for your business/organization. Unfortunately, it's rarely that straightforward, particularly if you aren't working on customer facing features. Here are the four steps for prioritization:

  1. Solicit input from your partners: It's important to identify what your design, engineering, data science, product marketing, and other cross-functional partners find important. For example, your engineering partners might want to do a tech migration, while your PMM partner might have identified a critical missing customer feature. Together with their input you can brainstorm and create a list of initiatives.

  2. Use the RICE framework: Create a table using the Reach, Impact, Confidence, and Effort framework. Reach is for how many people will see the feature. Impact is for the $ impact of the feature. Confidence is the likelihood of execution and/or Impact (0-1). Effort is the level of effort (usually 1-10). The formula you can use is R*I*C/E. For example, let's say you're building a new Android app for your customer base. You know that the app will reach 100 customers, it'll grow revenue (impact) by $50 per customer so a total of $5000, the confidence is medium at 0.5, and effort is 5. Total = 500. You can then benchmark this against a different initiative.

  3. Communicate your decision back to your partners: Once you've come up with a priority (either your "top 5", P0/P1, or ordered list) communicate back to your partners and ensure you're all aligned on what's most important.

2904 Views
Tom Alterman
Tom Alterman
Notable Head of ProductOctober 26

The short answer here is Mission -> Vision -> Strategy -> Goals -> Projects/Features.

Focus on things that way round and it will be clear what features to prioritize. I'd recommend this fantastic article for a play by play with examples of how to run a great planning process using this structure

2177 Views
Anton Kravchenko
Anton Kravchenko
Carta Sr. Director of Product ManagementApril 11

At Carta, our end-to-end process for prioritizing features is rooted in strategic alignment, user-centricity, collaboration, and data-driven decision-making. For simplicity, you can think of the process in the following way:

  1. Align: Our process begins by aligning the team's product strategy with the overarching business objectives, ensuring that every feature we prioritize contributes directly to the company's strategic goals. During this process, we gather valuable insights from various sources, including user feedback and thorough market analysis.

  2. Refine: Once we clearly understand the landscape, product owners will lead the process of drafting PRDs. These documents outline key feature ideas and establish measurable metrics that will define the success of each proposed feature. By defining success metrics upfront, we ensure that every feature aligns with our KPIs and contributes to our overall success.

  3. Collaborate: Collaboration is key in our process. PMs will partner closely with engineering and UX counterparts to assess each feature's feasibility and size the investments needed to bring these features to life. We leverage frameworks like MoSCoW or RICE to normalize the value of each feature against its associated costs.

From here, we'll generate a final roadmap to guide our internal teams and inform our customers about what's coming.

387 Views
Mike Arcuri
Mike Arcuri
Meta Director of Product - Horizon Worlds PlatformApril 25

Here's a rough e2e prioritization process:

  1. Set context with the team and your stakeholders on the overall business, product stage and strategy, key problems, behavioral data, and user research.

  2. Establish roadmap themes based on these key problems, needs, and opportunities.

  3. Engage everyone in brainstorming solutions for these important problems and opportunities.

  4. De-duplicate ideas and group brainstormed ideas/solutions together.

  5. Arrange projects ideas into an ordered list.

  6. Sort the list by both effort and impact.

    1. Low effort, high impact projects rise to the top.

    2. Get help from data science to forecast impact if available, or do your own spreadsheet math to forecast impact.

    3. Work with design and engineering to scope the effort.

  7. Go through the project list with to make sure the ideas near the top are well understood in terms of product & design, open questions are clarified, and owners to further define the solution are clear.

  8. Let anyone on the team argue for or against project rankings (e.g. impact being higher than currently predicted or effort being different than current predicted).

  9. Settle on the most impactful projects for the next N months in your roadmap. Use points/capacity from agile or SWAGs of engineering days/weeks vs. team capacity.

  10. Vet for not just impact, but also depth of coverage and chance of success for your themes/goals.

    1. Would it be better to cut a theme goal and make more impact on fewer things?

    2. Avoid "peanut buttering" your investments. Minimal time/effort/solutions spread across too many problems can lead to failing at all goals.

  11. Define milestones in the roadmap, and communicate broadly about your planned milestones, goals, and top projects.

648 Views
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