How to prioritize product ideas
Valentin Huang 10/26/2023 PM Guide
5 Minutes

Product prioritization of ideas means that the company has a solid idea management process. It further suggests that there is a step-by-step approach to collecting, organizing, and analyzing requests for new product features. All product ideas need to be carefully refined before making an actual investment decision.

How does idea management help in prioritizing product features?

Idea management practices can do wonders to consolidate your product idea collection. Some of how idea management assists in prioritizing features are discussed below:

Defining the workflow

You can create a checklist for product managers, which allows them to go over ideas and set short-term goals. In this regard, when workflow is defined, the product manager’s role is critical in prioritizing product ideas by assessing their alignment with the company's goals, and customer needs to determine how ideas should be pursued.

Centralizing collection

An idea management tool allows you to create one channel for the submission and reviewing of all ideas, rather than wasting time searching across a variety of platforms.

Weeding out bugs

Using idea management, you can almost immediately move any bugs or product fixes to the backlog for further investigation. Moreover, to further improve the product, considerable help can be obtained from the product backlog. The product backlog serves as a dynamic list of product ideas and features, enabling teams to prioritize and organize them based on their importance.

Screenshot 2023-10-26 at 11.14.57

Merging duplicates

Identical ideas can be merged, so each group offers a unique set of ideas.

Aligning ideas with goals and strategies

Idea management allows the team to map all ideas with an ongoing initiative or goal of the company.

Organizing by theme

Ideas can be condensed together into product themes and trends according to different consumer segments, or functionality areas.

Updating the status

With all the information available, it becomes convenient to decide the status of the idea: whether it should be built, shouldn’t be built, would be difficult to build, or exists already.

Offering quick response times

The submitters can be kept updated regarding the status of their idea using an automated notification or a more personal, direct response about why their idea can (or cannot) be implemented.

Choosing the best ideas for your product

Every day, product teams are bombarded with countless ideas and requests. Whether they want to consider a far-reaching, visionary idea or tackle a narrower request, it is important to remain consistent in evaluating the potential value and gauging the actual value of the products they develop.

Both the potential and realized value will alter over time. An identical process of evaluation, prioritization, and measurement should be put to use throughout product development.

Again, consistency is the key. The two strategies for focus include: scoring and prioritizing.

Scoring ideas using a product value score

Scoring brings forth a high degree of objectivity. It has a product-agnostic and methodological nature, which allows you to benefit from it irrespective of the team’s strategy or the product being developed.

The score offers a holistic viewpoint of the multidimensional aspects of product development, considering factors such as the production effort, user benefits, and the impact on business.

Prioritization frameworks

The prioritization strategies for every team will be different from the others. Some teams try to use prioritization frameworks for illustrating and effectively communicating strategies. Prioritization frameworks are chosen based on the product’s complexity or the organization’s operations.

When working with a lean team or dealing with a simpler product, most teams often prefer to work with the 2x2 matrix. The lightweight tool offers a collaborative platform for plotting the scored ideas. Using the 2x2 matrix allows the team to work using a shared whiteboard template, jot down, and sort ideas together whilst visualizing them effectively.

Transforming a list of ideas into a product roadmap

Simply having a long list of prioritized ideas cannot guarantee a product roadmap for your team. It is significant to understand the timing for the overall process of development. The idea extends beyond merely planning out the dates since you need to focus on the bigger picture.

Once you have the list of ideas scrutinized against the company’s strategic aim, the next step is to figure out how the imminent features of your product will support the initiatives and goals proposed by the company. You should also take note of how the features should link with each other, and the innovative experience that the customers will be getting.

Here comes the ‘jobs to be done’ framework where you can sort out the features depicting a different mode of functionality. The jobs-to-be-done framework makes it easy to envisage the depth of what the product delivers.

The features that are prioritized in the jobs-to-be-done framework closely depict the product’s future. When companies partake in a disciplined strategy to prioritize product ideas, they can fulfill customer needs in a better manner.

Effective strategies for prioritizing your product roadmap

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1. User feedback and behavior

Customers provide a valuable influx of information, which allows product teams to prioritize their ideas and initiatives. When observing consumer feedback or requests, teams should pay close attention to the following:

  • any improvements or features which are frequently requested by consumers

  • whether these requirements provide high value or not, and

  • whether these requests originate from consumers who tend to churn

The idea is simple: companies and product teams should think beyond what the users have to say about the product, and rather understand their interactions with the product.

2. Value versus complexity

The ‘value versus’ complexity models offer a highly useful framework for prioritizing features and aiding the business with decision-making prospects. It has been used repeatedly by companies for product decisions.

The process begins by listing out potential features, and approximating the degree of complexity they entail alongside the likely value they can bring to the business. These initiatives are later plotted on the grid.

3. Weighted scoring

Almost identical to the value versus complexity framework, the weighting scoring model makes use of scores to assign various weights to a list of strategic benefits. These are compared with costs to produce a quantitative score and rank for all the initiatives present on the list.

4. A bucket approach

Otherwise recognized as the Kano model, a bucket approach offers a convenient understanding of the association between a product’s functions and customer delight to produce a balanced product roadmap.

The product features are classified into three buckets:

  • threshold: the necessary functionalities required for product sales

  • performance: the attributes that contribute to greater levels of consumer satisfaction. and

  • excitement: the additional features of the product that enhance consumer delight.

5. Buy a feature

Buying a feature allows product teams to comprehend and evaluate the significance of key functionalities and features to their consumers and stakeholders.

The process of buying a feature begins by listing out all potential features and allotting a unique price to each of them. The price can be set by calculating the potential developmental costs for each feature. A currency is then given to each team member, and they can purchase whatever features they please.

The outcome will be a prioritized list of features that the team has spent the greatest amount of currencies on.

6. Opportunity scoring

Opportunity scoring can be used to recognize and target opportunities that fulfill customer need better than the rest. The existing satisfaction of consumers and the significance of product features can be taken into account whilst using the opportunity scoring approach. It is a customer-centric approach, which takes in data from customer feedback.

7. Affinity grouping

An affinity group consists of individuals who share a common interest or objective for a particular purpose. Collaborating on affinity grouping is most effective when undertaken as a team activity.

The members will jot down their unique product ideas, which can later be grouped according to their similarities.

8. Story mapping

Story mapping is a widely utilized approach to defining tests on newer products. The approach allows the product team to gather extensive insights with minimal effort. It also provides a visual approach to building the product backlog and outlining sprint iterations.

Concluding remarks: For the effective prioritization of product ideas, not only is understanding essential but so are the right tools. Dive into the plethora of resources at Harvestr, your all-in-one management platform. It's designed to foster product-led growth, ensuring your ideas always hit the mark.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are product priorities?

Product priorities are the specific features, improvements, or tasks that a product team deems most important and urgent to work on to achieve their strategic goals and address customer needs.

What are the 4 categories for prioritization?

The four common categories for prioritization are:

  • urgent and important: high priority, requiring immediate attention.

  • important, but not urgent: important for long-term goals.

  • urgent, but not important: requires action but may not have a significant impact.

  • not urgent and not important: low priority, often to be deprioritized or eliminated.

What are 3 ways to prioritize?

Three common ways to prioritize are:

  • MoSCoW Method: Categorizing items as Must-haves, Should-haves, Could-haves, and Won't-haves.

  • Value vs. Effort Matrix: Evaluating items based on their potential value and the effort required to implement them.

  • Kano Model: Assessing features such as Basic Needs, Performance Needs, and Excitement Needs to determine their impact on customer satisfaction.


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