Quantitative, Qualitative,
Intuitive Feature
Prioritization
with Andrew Breen
The Product Mentor
Who am I?
● 20+ years building tech products across
multiple industries ranging from early stage
to large companies
● Part...
What’s your Approach?
● Have a philosophy about product dev
● Be more of a referee than a player...but don’t
be afraid to ...
What does a Product Manager do?
As Product Manager, you are the driver for the
product development process. You have many
...
What is the Product Triangle?
User/Customer
Business Goals Operational
Execution
Your job is to be
the advocate for
the us...
Who are your Users/Customers?
What are your (potential) users telling you
behaviorally?
Usage/engagement data, transaction...
How do you use Engagement Data?
● Find site/app metrics that actually show how
people are using your product
○ Avoid facad...
What can be gleaned from surveys?
● Used for direction and to measure sentiment
● Have a clear objective and avoid bias
● ...
What about Focus Groups and User
Testing?
● Gain detailed sentiment with a focus group
of 4-10 (potential) customers
○ Gro...
Who are your Business Goals?
What are your stakeholders telling you is
important?
Translating business priorities into act...
How do You Form Business Goals?
● The KPI (Key Performance Indicators) that the company
measures its business against
● Tr...
Who are Stakeholders?
● Sponsor/expert/key influencer for a feature
● For every major feature, be sure to have a
stakehold...
Who are Your Execution Concerns?
What is your team telling you impacts
developing, releasing and supporting this?
Constrai...
What is involved in realizing this?
● Execution team: design, dev, QA, copywriting,
etc who will build it (+25-50% to any ...
How do we use this to form a plan?
What is a roadmap anyway?
Impact, complexity, themes, charts and tasks
How do we use Impact vs. Complexity?
Business impact is
measurable
improvement of core
metrics by the
feature
Complex item...
What are Themes?
● Temporal “soft” priorities that make sure you
focus on what’s impactful and relevant now
● Generally qu...
The Product Chart as Roadmap
● More for managing stakeholders than the
product team
○ But your team should be aware of wha...
Sample Product Chart
Feature 1
Improvement X
Feature 2 Feature 8 Feature 14
Feature 15
Feature 16
Improvement Y Feature 3
...
Product Team View (Kanban Style)
Improvement Z Feature 2 Feature 1 ... ... ...
Feature 6 Feature 3 Improvement X
Feature 7...
Product Case (for new Features)
Who is the customer/user? Who is the target for this feature? Are there more than one (e.g...
And that’s a Wrap...
User engagement + impact on KPI + thematic
relevance + execution risk = priority
So what’s the intuit...
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Quantitative, Qualitative, and Intuitive Feature Prioritization

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Slides Andrew Breen recently used in his discussion w/ mentees of The Product Mentor.

The Product Mentor is a program designed to pair Product Mentors and Mentees from around the World, across all industries, from start-up to enterprise, guided by the fundamental goals…Better Decisions. Better Products. Better Product People.

Throughout the program, each mentor leads a conversation in an area of their expertise that is live streamed and available to both mentee and the broader product community.

http://TheProductMentor.com

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Quantitative, Qualitative, and Intuitive Feature Prioritization

  1. 1. Quantitative, Qualitative, Intuitive Feature Prioritization with Andrew Breen The Product Mentor
  2. 2. Who am I? ● 20+ years building tech products across multiple industries ranging from early stage to large companies ● Particular focus on mobile/communication ● Broad experience in the product development process (Agile) ● Recently installed as VP, Product Delivery at American Express
  3. 3. What’s your Approach? ● Have a philosophy about product dev ● Be more of a referee than a player...but don’t be afraid to have a point of view ● Remove the subjectivity: cite quantitative and/or qualitative facts to avoid opinions ● Be transparent getting stakeholders and product team involved early and intimately so there’s ownership and autonomy
  4. 4. What does a Product Manager do? As Product Manager, you are the driver for the product development process. You have many stakeholders, inputs and team members depending on your prioritization. How do we do that using quantitative, qualitative and intuitive feature prioritization?
  5. 5. What is the Product Triangle? User/Customer Business Goals Operational Execution Your job is to be the advocate for the user balancing that against business goals and operational constraints
  6. 6. Who are your Users/Customers? What are your (potential) users telling you behaviorally? Usage/engagement data, transactions, surveys, focus groups, user testing
  7. 7. How do you use Engagement Data? ● Find site/app metrics that actually show how people are using your product ○ Avoid facade metrics that include non-engaged users (e.g. pageviews) ○ How successful are people with your product? ● Keep it simple: Divide by active users, transactions or other meaningful core metric ○ Use funnel metrics to assess flow/drop-off for core use-cases
  8. 8. What can be gleaned from surveys? ● Used for direction and to measure sentiment ● Have a clear objective and avoid bias ● Be specific and brief ● Limit open ended questions but offer them ● Use incentives to attract a wider audience ● Don’t overuse surveys or their data ○ Esp if not a statistically significant representation of your audience)
  9. 9. What about Focus Groups and User Testing? ● Gain detailed sentiment with a focus group of 4-10 (potential) customers ○ Group facilitating brainstorming/feedback ○ Used as top level inputs; not quantifiable ● User Tests for one-on-one usability feedback ○ Test prototypes by asking users to finish tasks ○ Do not answer questions, respond with a question ○ Do not draw any conclusions until you test it with at least 5 people looking for patterns
  10. 10. Who are your Business Goals? What are your stakeholders telling you is important? Translating business priorities into actionable tasks
  11. 11. How do You Form Business Goals? ● The KPI (Key Performance Indicators) that the company measures its business against ● True from day 1 to day n of the company ● Examples: ○ New user registrations per time period ○ Transactions/Revenue per time period ○ Minutes engaged with product per session ○ New customer funnel completion rate ● All newly proposed features should be measured in how they impact these
  12. 12. Who are Stakeholders? ● Sponsor/expert/key influencer for a feature ● For every major feature, be sure to have a stakeholder (and it can’t be you/your team) ○ If you can’t find one, you likely shouldn’t be doing it ● Get stakeholder buy-in at strategic development points: before you begin work and when you believe its ready ○ Make them feel like an owner
  13. 13. Who are Your Execution Concerns? What is your team telling you impacts developing, releasing and supporting this? Constraints and risks
  14. 14. What is involved in realizing this? ● Execution team: design, dev, QA, copywriting, etc who will build it (+25-50% to any LoEs) ● What will the impact be on support? ● How will customers know about and get it? What is the messaging and positioning? ● Are there partners involved? ● Are there any constraints or risks that need to be better understood?
  15. 15. How do we use this to form a plan? What is a roadmap anyway? Impact, complexity, themes, charts and tasks
  16. 16. How do we use Impact vs. Complexity? Business impact is measurable improvement of core metrics by the feature Complex items are ones with many unknowns/high risks 1. Initial Focus 2. Big ticket items 1a. Low-Hanging Fruit X. Avoid Impact ComplexityLow High High
  17. 17. What are Themes? ● Temporal “soft” priorities that make sure you focus on what’s impactful and relevant now ● Generally quarterly but can have overlap ○ At most, one should be winding down while another is ramping up ● Example: Improve user engagement Today Grow customer base Q2 Better monetize customers Q3 Expand into new region Q4
  18. 18. The Product Chart as Roadmap ● More for managing stakeholders than the product team ○ But your team should be aware of what is committed ● Have swimlanes (by theme, product group or customer segment) ● Directional (or time indicative) vs. hard times ○ Active, Next, Likely, Probably, Maybe ○ Don’t be overly specific boxing yourself in
  19. 19. Sample Product Chart Feature 1 Improvement X Feature 2 Feature 8 Feature 14 Feature 15 Feature 16 Improvement Y Feature 3 Feature 4 Feature 9 Feature 17 Feature 18 Feature 19 Feature 5 Improvement Z Feature 6 Feature 10 Feature 11 Feature 20 Feature 21 Feature 7 Feature 12 Feature 13 Feature 22 Feature 23 Active Next Likely Probably Maybe Lane1Lane2Lane3Lane4 On Track Blocked/Issues Off Track
  20. 20. Product Team View (Kanban Style) Improvement Z Feature 2 Feature 1 ... ... ... Feature 6 Feature 3 Improvement X Feature 7 Feature 4 Improvement Y Feature 8 Feature 5 Feature 9 Feature 10 Feature 11 Feature 12 Backlog To Do Doing To Test To Accept To Release HigherPriority NOTE: typically bigger features are broken down into stories and then tasks at this level for execution
  21. 21. Product Case (for new Features) Who is the customer/user? Who is the target for this feature? Are there more than one (e.g. end-user and internal support)? What problem/need do they have? Focus on the problem/need for the user and/or the opportunity for us. What are the primary use-cases? Enumerated list kept at a high-level. These will be translated into detailed user stories by the team but these should be detailed enough to decide what is essential for an MVP (but this list should not define MVP). What are constraints to consider? Are there boundaries or other limitations (internal or external) to consider when planning this? How do we go to market? How do we promote this to new/existing customers? How do we raise awareness? How do we monetize/What are cost considerations? Is this feature monetized separately or as part of an existing offering? What are the price points and cost aspect? What is supporting data? What data (quantitative and/or qualitative) do we have to support this feature? If it's new/different enough that we don’t have easily quantifiable analytics, what are proxies we can use (e.g. customer surveys/focus groups, competitive, etc)? What are the key results? What are the measurable results we expect to achieve with this project? Make sure they are both concrete and not easily done just by creating this.
  22. 22. And that’s a Wrap... User engagement + impact on KPI + thematic relevance + execution risk = priority So what’s the intuitive part? These best practices, tools, techniques and your good judgement

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