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How to Prioritize Product Features - ProductPlan | ProductCamp SoCal 2014


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Prioritization is a hot topic for product managers especially for those doing next year's product planning. Even the most seasoned PM struggles with determining which features and initiatives to put on the product roadmap. With so many opportunities competing for scarce resources, how to decide?

With that in mind, I conducted a session at ProductCamp SoCal last month about different ways to approach product prioritization. Some of the best practice techniques are built in to ProductPlan (

Whether you are developing a new product or maintaining an existing product here are 7 different techniques you can use to determine the best initiatives.

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How to Prioritize Product Features - ProductPlan | ProductCamp SoCal 2014

  1. 1. How to Prioritize Your Product Initiatives Jim Semick Conducted at ProductCamp SoCal - November 15, 2014
  2. 2. So many opportunities. How do you decide the right ones for your product roadmap?
  3. 3. Let’s Discuss Aligning strategy with goals Common prioritization techniques How to get stakeholder buy-in What we learned after interviewing dozens of product managers. Tips and more group discussion
  4. 4. Have You Seen These Challenges? Prioritizing details, not the big picture Priorities not tied to strategic goals Priorities driven by execs not customers Priorities determined by sales prospects Stakeholders question priorities Too much subjectivity
  5. 5. Before You Start • Think high level and categorize – Strategic initiatives/goals (growth, satisfaction, competition, etc.) – Product line or category – Type (new feature, maintenance, UX, etc.) • Group smaller initiatives into themes • Bring customer evidence to the table • Understand customer value & rough cost
  6. 6. Common Prioritization Techniques
  7. 7. The technique you choose is not as important as… …the conversation about priorities …agreement on the criteria …your product management skills …helping others arrive at the same conclusion based on evidence
  8. 8. Value Versus Complexity Quadrant Complexity / Effort Business Value High High Low 1 2 ?
  9. 9. Value vs Complexity + Weighted Scoring
  10. 10. Product Function Customer Delight High Fully Implemented Low Absent Basic (threshold) Features Performance Excitement Features Kano Model Customer Delight versus Product Function
  11. 11. Other Techniques • Buy a Feature • Opportunity Scoring – Importance vs satisfaction • Affinity Grouping (super fun) – Opportunities on sticky notes – Group similar items – Vote & Rank • Story Mapping
  12. 12. Getting Executive Buy-In • Be transparent with execs about your process - involve them • Get agreement up front on framework and goals to use for prioritization • Involve multiple stakeholders to get different viewpoints on prioritization
  13. 13. Thank You! Sign up for a free 30 day trial