Effective product prioritisation

Posted: Jul 27, 2016 in Business, Data, Marketing, Product Management
Tags: ,

So many fantastic ideas from so many people to improve the product, but it’ll always be impossible to fulfil all desires in an acceptable time frame to stakeholders, making prioritisation not only challenging but extremely important.

Communication, data, collaboration and determination can certainly make prioritisation all the more effective and smoother, so looking at these areas in more detail:

Communication: Status of iteration, where do product requests/bugs sit in the pecking order, ETA on delivery, investment cost and the projected value of iterations held in a transparent way for stakeholders to pull the data when they want will help with the communication overhead and help maintain trust.

Data: To ensure that high-value items are being worked on you need data to back up assumptions. It can be easy to flap and try to make a problem out to be bigger than it is to get it done, but there should always be some kind of data to back it up with examples being: incremental revenue which can be reverse-engineered from retention uplift rates or projected acquisition volume increases using LTV for example. Other ways of projecting value / determining scale of the problem are customer support queries or customer feedback, site loading times, efficiency in terms of £££ saving eg. Manhours/days or software costs etc.

Collaboration: Discussing value and priority options openly with your colleagues will help you deliver a product in a more confident and focused way, as it’s not easy making the big decisions on prioritisation because what’s at the top or moves to the top means that the items below won’t be done now or perhaps anytime soon, so checking and agreeing on the focus/roadmap helps to give confidence to just get on with delivering a high quality & valuable product without having to worry about justifying a decision you’ve made alone every minute of the day. The final decision of course lands with the Product Manager who is accountable for the success of the product and prioritisation decisions, but getting feedback from stakeholders/colleagues in an inclusive way can yield even more positive outcomes.

Determination: Prioritisation changes frequently if you work in an agile environment, so being positive and determined to deliver upcoming high priority / high effort iterations you’ve been discussing for months or even years helps to keep the focus on delivering the key product goals and provides reminders that it’s still on the agenda, no matter the level of incoming bombshells/distractions.

If someone asks for something to be done urgently without providing any numbers representing the projected value or any element to give an idea of the scale of the problem you’re looking to solve, then asking why do it or what happens if we don’t do it in the next 12 months should help to quickly prompt the need to research more into the value.

Projecting investment cost and taking time to dig into the projected value the product iteration will make collaboratively, will ensure that you’re delivering frequent value to customers internally and externally in a happy, fun and relaxed environment.

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