- Take a consensus of the team and stakeholders on which features do they think will work out.
- Sort the features that the user will have the highest engagement with – and then see the biggest drop offs i.e. where the users are getting stuck. The user’s feedback is of utmost importance.
Although most product managers tend to gravitate towards the first approach rather than a data informed, educated hypothesis. Here is a word of caution; companies that do not follow statistics, numbers and keep the users in the forefront most likely do not succeed
Step 1: Collate data
As we discussed, it is very important to base decisions on the basis of data. So how do we get this data?
- Analysing the product to see where most users are getting stuck and quitting.
- Recording what the users are doing with their mouse – this helps you understand if your product is easy to use.
- Sending or putting up surveys which are short, precise and easy to understand for the user – a source of direct user feedback.
- Reading through the user’s customer support transcripts to see where they are facing the issue.
- Creating live testing rooms to record and see how the users are using your product.
When you analyse these results, you will have an exact understanding on which aspects of the product need to be improved and in which order you need to execute them.
Step 2: Identify Quantitative and Qualitative Data
It is necessary to correlate and compare every initiative that you take for the user or the company based on effort, time, money and other factors.
For example, if you need to redesign a current feature to fix the issues, it will take less time and money rather than re-designing a new feature that doesn’t really match the user’s need.
Here, you need to decide which features to adopt and work on and which features to put on a backburner for a later update.
Step 3: Scoring Initiatives
Once you’ve decided which features to adopt, it is time to prioritise the shortlisted ones. How do you do that? It’s simple.
List the points on a spreadsheet and score them on a scale of 1-5; 1 being the most important and 5 being the least. To score these features, you need to take into consideration the competition, the market and the customers.
Step 4: Initiate a Stakeholder Buy-In on your Roadmap
Before you pitch the plan to the stakeholder, it is necessary that you proactively address their concerns. Walk them through the entire process, along with the data, on how you came up with the prioritised roadmap. Logical data rather than assumed data will definitely score some points with the stakeholders as they are investing their money in your product.
Use metrics from an analytics tool, pie diagrams, charts, professional data collection, etc. to create your presentation. Instead of endlessly talking about the features, show them the effect on the KPIs.
Address the concerns of your stakeholders to make them believe in your product and that it is going to be high-yielding product that is monetarily beneficial.
Techniques to Prioritise Your Product Roadmap
Value v/s Cost:
As we’ve discussed always prioritise features that have bigger value and lower cost. It is best to build a graph to get a 360 degree perspective on it.
Kano Model Analysis:
Noriaki Kano created a model where he classified the items of a product based in two dimensions – need of an item and the excitement of the user. It was classified into three types: basic, satisfiers and delighters.
For example, if you are building a car, the absolute basic necessity are the wheels whereas, it would be delightful to have a sunroof.
Paulo Caroli created Feature Sequencer which plans a product based on deliverables and features. It helps you organize and visualize the features and its relation to deliverables, i.e. it organizes and plans product releases. Each feature is represented by an index card and the post-its on the right hand side represent the deliverables.
This strategy is similar to the Kano analysis – create a diagram of a tree. The roots represent the basic elements required whereas, the flowers and fruits determine the delighters.
This is a suggestion system where the users can give feedback on the product. With the help of UserVoice, the customers can vote for suggestions. It makes the user choose and prioritize features.
The importance of each feature can be further calculated using the RICE methodology.
RICE Score = R x I x C / E
R= Reach (how many people will this reach?)
I = Impact (how will it impact people?)
C = Confidence (how confident are you in your estimates)
E = Effort (how many “person months” will this take to build?)
Even though there is no exact science to create a roadmap – it is imperative to use a few suggestions that are given above to get it close to the success of a product that you envision.
Although, there are several methods to be used but the best method is to use common sense and pick one method that best serves your product. The product managers need to choose a method that prioritises options taking into account the company goals and the users’ needs.