All related (10)
Aleks Bass, M.A
Vice President Product Management, MomentiveJune 16

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.

Brandon Green
Director of Product, Fulfillment, ezCater | Formerly Wayfair, Abstract, CustomMade, SonicbidsAugust 15

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 :) 

Krishna Panicker
VP Product, Airbase | Formerly Skype, Microsoft, Blink and PipedriveMarch 9

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

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.