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Priority Starts at the Top

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In his talk, Daniel goes over tools and tactics to rally everyone around common goals, define a strategy that balances them, and communicate it. He also reveals how to reduce the amount of stuff that you need to go through in the backlog.

About the speaker:
Daniel Zacarias is a Senior Product Management consultant. His goal is to help teams create or improve their product strategies and processes. Over the last 10 years, he’s been an Engineer, Product Owner and Product Manager. Daniel strives for the most effective alignment of goals of everyone involved. That aligment includes: the team working on the product, the organization marketing it, and of course, the customers that get value from it.

//This talk was given by Daniel Zacarias at the Productized Talks @ OLX Group (25th October 2018)

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Published in: Business
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Priority Starts at the Top

  1. 1. Priority starts at the top Daniel Zacarias @ Productized Talks
  2. 2. A little bit about myself - Product guy for 10+ years - Founder of Substantive, a consultancy helping teams with their product strategy, discovery and delivery processes - Founder of Underway, a new tool to save PMs’ time in status meetings and reports - Blogger at foldingburritos.com
  3. 3. Prioritization…
  4. 4. Never enough resources…
  5. 5. … Provide the most value, given our constraints
  6. 6. and yet…
  7. 7. it’s always hard.
  8. 8. Most common issues…
  9. 9. how to decide what we should do next?
  10. 10. how to deal with multiple priorities?
  11. 11. how to deal with constantly changing priorities?
  12. 12. October November December January February v1 v2 v3now Feature 1 Feature 2 Feature 3 Feature 4 Feature 5 Feature 6 Feature 7 Feature 8 Feature 9 FeatureGroupA Feature GroupB FeatureGroupC
  13. 13. Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Bug Bug Bug Bug Bug Bug Bug Bug Bug Bug Bug Bug BugBugBug Story Task Task Task Task Task Task Task Task Task Epic Epic Epic StoryStoryBug Bug Bug Bug TaskTask Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Bug Bug Bug Bug Bug Bug Bug Bug Bug Bug Bug Bug Bug Bug Bug Story Task Task Task Task Task Task Task Task Task Story Story Bug Bug Bug Bug TaskTask Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Bug Bug Bug Bug Bug Bug Bug Bug Bug Bug Bug Bug BugBug Bug Story Task Task Task Task Task Task Task Task Task StoryStory Bug Bug Bug Bug TaskTask Story Story Story Story Story Story Bug Task Story Story Story Bug Bug Task Story Story Story Bug Task Story Story Bug Task Story Story Story Bug Bug Task Story Story Story Bug Task Story Story Story Story Bug BugBug Task Epic Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Bug Bug Bug Bug Task Task Task Bug Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Bug Bug Bug Bug BugBug Task Task Bug Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Bug BugBug Task Epic Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Bug Bug Bug Bug Task Task Task Bug Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Bug Bug Bug Bug BugBug Task Task Bug Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Bug BugBug Task Epic Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Bug Bug Bug Bug Task Task Task Bug Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Bug Bug Bug Bug BugBug Task Task Bug Story Story Story Story Epic Story Story Story Bug Task Story Story Story Story Bug Task Task Story Story Bug Bug Story Story Story Bug BugBug Task Epic Story Story Story Story Story Bug Bug Task Task Task Story Story Bug Bug Bug Task Bug Epic Story Story Bug Bug Story Story Story Bug Bug Story Task Bug Story Story Bug Bug Story Story Story Bug Bug Story Task Bug Story Task Story Bug Task Story Story Bug Task Story Bug Story Bug Bug Task Story Bug
  14. 14. We’re dealing with stuff…
  15. 15. Managing and prioritizing outputs is really hard
  16. 16. Value comes from Outcomes
  17. 17. Outputs ≠ Outcomes What you can see and experience What you get out of it This is why “a thing” is valuable to us
  18. 18. Credit: useronboard.com
  19. 19. 1. how to decide what we should do next? 2. how to deal with multiple priorities? 3. how to deal with changing priorities?
  20. 20. 1. define the types of value 2. set their relative importance 3. understand what’s changing
  21. 21. Types of value
  22. 22. Think about your recent work…
  23. 23. There are different types of tasks that the team takes on…
  24. 24. ‣ New features ‣ Bugs ‣ Technical debt ‣ UX improvements ‣ … and so on
  25. 25. It’s nearly impossible to compare them relative to each other…
  26. 26. But it’s quite easy to do when they create the same “type of value”
  27. 27. Bugs can be valued in terms of quality goals like: support needs, user satisfaction/perception, churn, etc.
  28. 28. Technical debt can be valued in terms of velocity, scalability or similar
  29. 29. UX improvements can be valued in terms of user satisfaction, task completion times, etc.
  30. 30. New features should be valued in terms of the business and/or customer goals that they aim to serve
  31. 31. Having the same comparison parameters makes it much easier to set priorities within a given type of value
  32. 32. Mission Themes Goals Projects LazyChat team Create the most effective communication environment for teams of all sizes ➚ CLTV 100% GDPR Compliance Upsell from Pro to Premium User account delete Plan feature adjustments Growth Compliance JIRA integration (on Premium plan) Quality improvements ➘ Tickets / user Support-originated bugs Backup data removal Bug fixes User-self serve ➚ Trial-to-Paid conversion Onboarding improvements Lifecycle email campaign In-app contextual messaging ➚ Team velocity Platform Capabilities Microservices migration Payments Microservice Webhook Microservice Monthly invoice report Feature requests
  33. 33. Setting the importance of each type
  34. 34. How do we balance all of this?
  35. 35. Through a product strategy
  36. 36. Strategy = application of resources to achieve a set of goals
  37. 37. This can be implicit (based on our recent history), or explicit, when it is known
  38. 38. Roadmap = illustration of strategy (usually over time)
  39. 39. The problem with time is that it forces us to ‘lock down’ a given set of current assumptions
  40. 40. Goals & Problems are way more stable than Features
  41. 41. Now Next Later Goal1Goal2Goal3 Theme 1 Theme 2 Theme 3 Theme 4 Theme 5 Theme 6 Theme 7 Theme 8 Theme 9 Theme 10 Theme 11 ‘Width’ shows investment level / importance Broad/vague time horizons Problem/Opportunity-oriented: More durable definition of ‘work to be done’ Outcome- oriented
  42. 42. How can we agree on a strategy?
  43. 43. Areas of value
  44. 44. KJ Method
  45. 45. Investment / Importance level
  46. 46. Set or Ask to be set Share
  47. 47. Understand what’s changing
  48. 48. When it seems that “priorities keep changing” we need to clearly understand what’s happening
  49. 49. It can be just our perception…
  50. 50. Is the investment level changing?
  51. 51. Are the features we work on changing? Is it due to learning? Or is it because you get asked for new ideas, requests, etc?
  52. 52. Ideas Requests Random Is this aligned with our mission / vision / value proposition? does it contribute to our current goals at all? how much? more than what’s already in the pipeline? how much effort does it require? is it worth it? tech team doesn’t need to waste their time until this point… (and you can even do a high-level estimate in most cases)
  53. 53. effort value ignore consider add next
  54. 54. Are goals changing? Because we hit previous ones? Some other reason? Too frequently?
  55. 55. Summing it up…
  56. 56. Priority comes from Value
  57. 57. Value comes from Outcomes
  58. 58. We need to…
  59. 59. Know the types of outcomes we need to produce #1
  60. 60. Know how important they are relative to each other #2
  61. 61. Correctly identify what’s changing (or what needs to change) #3

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