What’s the most difficult thing about prioritizing product enhancements?

If you want to simplify your company’s process for prioritizing product enhancements, try this. It’ll be uncomfortable for just a minute then everything will be easier.

Think of it like this. You have a kink in your neck that limits your movement, so you go to a massage therapist or reflexologist. They find a pressure point somewhere on your body and push hard for about 15 seconds. It hurts like hell for those 15 seconds but then your neck feels great.

Prioritizing Product Enhancements in 5 Steps

  1. Identify 5-7 business goals or outcomes that are important to the majority of your customers. For example, “determine the 3-year revenue potential in our top 20 accounts.”
  2. Prioritize those goals based on their strategic impact to the customer. A customer advisory board is invaluable here and highly recommended.
  3. For each of the above goals/outcomes, identify the biggest obstacles that make those goals difficult to achieve. For example, “our account teams are scattered across the globe and everyone is working in regional silos. There’s no collaboration or communication.” 
  4. Now, prioritize the obstacles for each goal/outcome. Again, customer advisory boards are an incredible asset here.
  5. Determine the features required to eliminate each obstacle and your prioritization is done.

Here’s the moral of the story. Everyone wants to start with product features, and that’s the problem. It makes everything more difficult versus ending with features as you saw in the example above.

Think about the value context you’ve just created around your roadmap. The communication is now a breeze.

“In the next release customers will be able to identify the total global revenue potential in their top accounts by eliminating silos across global account teams. They’ll be able to collaborate on a single global account plan for each customer. Key features are…”

Here’s another great benefit. Your roadmap and priorities are completely defensible because they were driven by your customer advisory board that’s representative of the customer base and the market at large.

Your priorities are far less likely to change using this approach because they’re 100% aligned to customer business priorities. As long as the customers’ priorities don’t change, your product priorities should remain in tact.

From here it’s a matter of resources and scheduling releases accordingly.

If you want to start prioritizing product enhancements based on customer outcomes and get the templates to implement the new best practice, enroll in Product Management University On-Demand. Learn B2B product management and product marketing it at your convenience, anytime, anywhere.

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