As a Product Manager, you are likely to run into challenging product prioritisation. Sometimes are product prioritisation, sometimes around convincing the stakeholders on why one feature should be built and sometimes deciding between customers want and what you think they should get. Let’s try and understand why it is difficult to prioritise what to build.
As a product manager, you need to take care of:
User Requirements — Where user feedback is hinting towards some wishlist features.
Technical requirements — Where engineers share their requirements on re architecturing, product stability, new technologies and much more.
Business requirements — Where business teams push their requirements on getting features shipped that positively impact the revenue
Design Requirements — Where designers come up with ideas and experiences to make the product more resilient.
Clearly, prioritisation happens at goals level, architectural level, strategy level & release level. It is fairly difficult and confusing for a product manager to keep a balance between all the requirements, instinct and data.
So, how should one approach product prioritisation?
1. See a dream (also referred to as product vision)
As a product manager, you need to foresee how your product will be used after a year. Once you see this dream, you will have a series of events planned to make this dream happen.
This is step one towards prioritisation.
List down all the product features that’ll help you achieve product vision and then ask yourself, will this help me achieve my vision?
To draw an analogy, when the ultimate goal is happiness, you keep asking yourself, “Will this give me happiness?”.
Similarly, every product task, story epic you have planned, you keep asking, will this help achieve the dream?
2. Divide and conquer (Not literally)
Once you have major tasks or features listed in front of you, divide them into following categories:
Must have — All the requirements that will help reach your current goal
Should have — All the requirements that are important for your current goal but not urgent.
Could have — All the requirements that are good to have but won’t contribute much to your current goals
Will not have — All the requirements that don’t help you achieve your current goal
This will help you prioritise the tasks quickly removing any confusion.
3. What does your customer want?
It’s very easy to fall for perceived value and start building features around that. The customers often say things which might come across as something that will turn them into your power users, however it is your job to uncover what they actually need.
How? Here’s a 2 step guide:
Do User research:
The Mom Test: The premise behind The Mom Test is that everyone is innocently lying to you all the time, for a wide variety of reasons. And the person who lies to you most is your mother, because she loves you and doesn’t want to hurt your feelings.
To pass The Mom Test, you have to ask questions that even your mother can’t lie about:
Talk about the customer’s life instead of your idea.
Ask about specifics in the past instead of generics or
opinions about the future.
Talk less and listen more.
2. Data insights
Make sure you are logging all the events properly
on analytic tool
Once your product is available live to the users, start
observing various funnel drop offs, the user journeys
and try to relate that with qualitative data from user
It’s critical to map the product features to the impact. In each roadmap, predict the impact each feature is going to create. For most of the businesses impact is measured on KPIs like user acquisition, engagement, retention, expansion and revenues.
I follow this framework that has helped me to improve product prioritisation while creating high impact:
List your tasks | Put a score in terms of impact you think it’s going to create on your KPIs | Put a score in terms of effort required | Final score will give you an estimate on what task to pick first.
Follow the above framework and you’ll see significant improvement in prioritising your product roadmap.