Note on Product Prioritization Frameworks

Always looking for ways to improve how to prioritize features appropriately to a roadmap. Each sprint is full of items to juggle between buckets of customer requests, items that improve customer retention, or (of course) increasing revenue. Features working towards on the roadmap are no doubt important, but fixing an issue customers see out in the field could potentially improve retention and apply a greater impact to the company’s bottom line.

The 1st approach calculated “ROI” by dividing using an averaged set of “Impact” ratings using a simple 1-5 likert scale (by my Eng Lead, UX Designer, Technical Support SME, and myself) and then divided the average by “Cost” (i.e. t-shirt sizing) to find ROI. It worked reasonably well; we were able to get to a prioritized list of features, but there was a skewing towards items that were quick wins and less towards major user features.

So, taking in some of the great PM content out on in the interwebs – I took the cue for my own team by trying to find a methodology. The latest approach uses weighted-values for 2 top-level product themes and “customer satisfaction” to identifying priority for each backlog item. Thus far, the priorities for each backlog item have all passed my PM gut. Also, there’s been solid feedback from the team too.

Take a look, hope you find it useful! If you find a way to improve on it, would love to hear about it.

Tripping on Accelerating Change

I felt inclined to re-read Bill Joy’s 4/2000 Wired piece today after reading up on Vicarious, Magic Leap and a few other companies around AI and augmented reality.

Why? I think it was really due to nerves. Feels like the rate of technological improvement is the highest its ever been in the history of human civilization. It’s invigorating to be a part of, but also very disconcerting. To me, it feels like we’re in a system that’s stuck in a constantly accelerating rate of change.

I believe humans were built to manage and direct systems that persist at steady paces, not those that accelerate exponentially. Sure, we can sprint in specific directions, but our minds and bodies require breaks inbetween to review and manage our general path. We don’t have the natural/genetic capability to accelerate and course correct at the same time continuously. If we want to continue this pace while still ensuring we’re on the right direction, we’ll eventually either stop, augment ourselves, or build something that can and have it do it for us.

At this pace, I think we’re going to sprint too hard in one or many very risky areas and create problem(s) we can’t fix.