To be a successful CPO, Product Director, Product Manager, or Product Analyst, you must be creative 🦄. You must develop new ideas and find ways to make them a reality. But being creative is easier said than done. It's not as simple as just thinking up new thoughts. You also have to evaluate them and decide whether they are worth pursuing. This can be a complex process, especially if you are not used to it. But with practice, you can learn how to evaluate your ideas in a way that allows you to pursue the ones most likely to succeed. One of the most critical tasks of product managers and leads is prioritizing product backlog because that is the most important thing for the future success of SaaS companies. You'd be surprised about how many product leaders neglect good prioritization practices.
Seriously, If you don't prioritize correctly, there will be consequences.
How much time and effort do you devote to prioritization?
I bet you listened to your CEO or another supervisor who had a great idea and wanted it implemented instantly. Remember the good ol' feature that you should have developed in 2019 but didn't have time for? Still, users were using the product because it solved a particular problem. Congrats to you and your product. There are other instances, but I wanted to highlight the ones we experience when dealing with consequences.
We get it. You will only be able to satisfy some clients/users/businesses with their idea or request for your product. And that's perfectly fine. Often, you won't meet your release dates, and don't get me started with wasting valuable resources for requests that your boss or biggest clients made. The single most important risk that your product faces if it's bloated with unimportant stuff is that the value proposition of your product will become unclear. Marketing will become more expensive than it needs to be. On top of that, you will miss your personal and development goals.
🤓Ask us how to prioritize. Otherwise, read on.
We have a lot of experience in managing backlogs and prioritizing. We've turned the most hopeless cases, such as 1044 open issues in Jira, into a well-organized Backlog.
Also, with proper prioritization, you save a lot of money. Imagine a team of 10 working on a project that was unsuccessfully prioritized. With $5k/month/team member, you are projected to lose $300k.
A few other pitfalls can occur if prioritization is done improperly. One is the reduction of time allocated for experimentation. What does that mean? Have you ever wanted to grow your product and have fantastic ideas about how but didn't execute them because of other "priorities"? Sure you have. The focus and growth mindset shift from outcomes to features. Remember the paragraph above when I was explaining the value proposition and marketing consequences? People don't buy features. They hire products and solutions to solve their problems. Making wrong assumptions about customers by solving or developing inadequate and useless features will lead to disaster. Proper prioritization will lead to a more precise focus and help you pursue the best possible outcomes. Otherwise, the tension between team members will build up team productivity will get reduced.
📖You should read on if you want to learn more about helpful product tips that will immediately improve your prioritization game.
📞You can also contact us; we will help you prioritize correctly.
"It's' not that they won't give an answer. They'll' often provide plenty. It's' just that the solutions they provide will likely be wrong." - HBR.
Our team deals with those kinds of cases every day. You need to realize that you can't please everyone. Some people will always be unhappy with your product's directions no matter what you do. This is simply a fact.
Pro tip (obviously): Focus on what is best for your product at its core. Remember, someone or you did great work achieving a problem-solution fit. Stop making everyone happy! By prioritizing correctly, you can ensure that you are making the best decisions for your product and your team. Ask us how.
This doesn't mean you should neglect your users' feedback, but you should always do what most users say and fail the minority. If most users want a specific change or feature, then it's essential to consider adding it to your product, but always keep in mind the core problem your product is solving. However, if most users don't care about a specific issue, it's probably not worth your time and effort to address it.
Fact check requests, promise nothing, and always say to come back to those who request a feature with a definitive answer. This will give you time to prepare data.
Pay attention to what most users require. You must ensure that your product meets their needs and expectations but validate with available product data.
Say "no" a lot but always have an argument or buy time to answer requests.
Don’t pay attention to every little rock on the road, remove big ones first, so you can pass, then, if needed, pay attention to small ones.
Never promise features to your boss (unless they're justified).
"45% of Product Launches Are Delayed by at Least One Month." - Gartner
When you prioritize your product backlog correctly, you avoid missing your release dates. This can cause several problems, including the wasting of valuable resources.
Factors such as a lack of formal launch processes, delays in product development (bugs, errors, feature creep), and failure to meet customer requirements can increase the chance of a product/feature not getting launched.
"With a seemingly endless list of features and initiatives we could be working on, but with limited resources to do that, prioritizing what's most impactful and adds the most user or business value is arguably the most important activity we can spend time on." - Hotjar
Allocating time and resources to a project that will not be completed on time is a waste. It can also be frustrating for team members, who may feel like they are working hard with no end in sight.
Additionally, meeting your release dates can ensure your company's reputation is maintained. Consumers may start to see your company as unreliable, which could lead to them choosing a competitor's product instead.
Lunch on time. 45% of product launches are delayed, and 20%, on average, fail to meet their internal targets.
Improve internal collaboration.
Determine where improvements will add value.
Communicate product vision and roadmap across all the other stakeholders in the company.
Don’t work solo - always include the whole team in the discussions about the features.
How do you, as a company, internally collaborate when priorities are in question?
How are product vision and roadmap communicated internally?
"If you can perfect your value proposition, you can increase your conversion rate and improve your marketing strategies across many channels." - Shopify.
When you don't prioritize your product backlog correctly, the value proposition of your product can become unclear. This can make it difficult for consumers to understand why they should choose your product over a competitor's.
Additionally, marketing your product can become more expensive than it needs to be. This is because you will need to spend more time and money trying to get your product in front of the customers and make them understand it.
Furthermore, it can damage the company's reputation, as customers may start to see your company as undependable and out of focus.
Be specific, focus on core features, and improve those.
Tie new features to the core pain your product is solving.
Determine what sets you apart from competitors in your core domain.
When exploring new areas or product ideas, set up an experimentation environment separated from the core product.
Try to solve only some problems. If your customers come to you with a problem that is not directly linked to your core product, always check if this problem is worth solving.
Don’t chase the hype.
"Aligning work around outcomes instead of just chasing the next feature idea is one of those things that product teams often want to nail but rarely get right." -Miro.
This shift in focus is one of the most dreadful consequences of incorrectly prioritizing. This can be harmful to your product and your team. It can lead to tension among team members and a lack of productivity. Additionally, it can cause you to miss your to feel miserable.
The key here is to remain focused on the outcomes you are trying to achieve. This will help keep everyone aligned and ensure that your team is progressing toward a shared goal. Additionally, it can help prevent potential conflict between team members and keep everyone focused on the bigger picture.
Focus on long-term vision, not short-term user satisfaction.
Pursue the best possible outcomes aligned with your vision when you prioritize
Focus on the customer's outcomes - for what are customers hiring your product?
Try to anticipate how things will look if the team succeeds.
Don’t focus on features that are irrelevant in the long run.
"Product experimentation lets you measure the impact of the products you're building—testing small changes at scale, occasionally failing, and using the results to learn, iterate, and optimize" - Hotjar.
Firstly, what is product experimentation? It's a process of testing hypotheses for ways to improve your product.
There are multiple methods and ways to do experimentation properly, but we'll not go through them here. Let's talk about the investigation in the context of prioritization. When you are focused on implementing quick-fix features that customers requested, there is less time for trying new things and seeing if they will work. This can discourage experimentation in the future, as people may feel like their ideas are not heard or taken seriously.
When you don't prioritize correctly, you may spend too much time upfront trying to pick the one thing you will explore.
How easy is testing or experimenting with the idea that teammates or users proposed?
How many existing customers can it impact?
Does it tackle a new customer segment?
Does it align with your long-term vision?
You have to ask many questions.
Always verify problems with experimentation.
Don’t expect to nail the experiment on the first try. If you do, good job!
If you are focused on quick wins, you risk failing to achieve product or personal goals. It's like throwing darts with the blindfold on. You may hit something, but the odds are not in your favor. Imagine not knowing the upfront definition of success and the benefits you bring to the users is analogous to locating where the dart target is. Having multiple darts means running various experiments. Successfully aiming and throwing darts one after the other is similar to having priorities aligned with the vision.
It is essential to stay focused on your personal and product goals to maintain motivation and see progress. By doing so, you can continue working towards creating a successful outcome.
Focus on product goals and align them with your personal goals
Expect to fail a lot.
Never give up
This is the first blog series that focuses mainly on the often-neglected area of product prioritization. We aim to help you define and align your priorities with your product vision. The next one will focus on the definition of product prioritization and your decision-making process.