Product feature prioritization! If only there was a magic machine that took product enhancement lists in one end and spit a credible priority list out the other. The intention is good – invest in features that yield the greatest return. But prioritizing features can be highly subjective. Throw in other classifications that attempt to assign value to product enhancements such as market growth, competitive, customer satisfaction, contractual commitments, etc. and this exercise can turn into something that makes you want to bang your head against the nearest brick wall!
Before embarking on the product feature prioritization exercise, think IMPACT, as in impact to the business outcomes of both existing and target customers. With few exceptions, highest impact equals highest priority. This approach will highlight the tremendous overlap between the needs of existing customers and those of target customers. Execute well and the result is satisfied customers, products that attract more buyers and higher revenue and market share.
Try this 3-step approach to prioritizing product features based on impact. The consensus decisions should come faster and easier.
- Create a profile of your target customers by department (B2B). Don’t limit this profile to the departments of your users. Expand the profile to include other departments impacted directly or indirectly by the activities of your users. For example, if your products typically target customer service, expand your profile to include sales and marketing at a minimum. Once you’ve identified each of the departments directly or indirectly impacted, identify the top 6 to 10 activities or tasks performed in each department. Forget about your products for the moment and just focus on key user activities. For example, people in the sales department, call leads, schedule meetings, visit customers, make presentations, negotiate contracts, provide pipeline forecasts, update CRM systems, etc.
- Now that your mindset is focused on the activities of your target customers (instead of products), take enhancement lists for all relevant products and bucket each enhancement request according to the target customer activities most impacted. Some enhancements will fall into only one activity and others will fall into multiple activities, indicating a higher value to the target customer organization.For example, an enhancement that improves customer loyalty and also gives sales better negotiating power might have much higher priority than one that makes CRM systems easier to update.Make this a routine practice for all incoming product enhancement requests and you’ll find it much easier to manage enhancements categorized by customer activity instead of managing them by product and tracking each one on an endless spreadsheet.
- Analyze the target customer activities containing the most enhancement requests and areas of priority will quickly come into focus. Cross-reference these areas of priority with enhancements perceived to be “market growth” enhancements and you’ll find significant overlap in most cases. Make your best attempt to quantify the impact of these enhancements for customers first and their monetary value to your organization will be much easier to calculate. As always, validate your findings before allocating design and development resources.
Track & Evaluate Product Enhancements Based on Their Impact to a Customer Activity
There’s another benefit to this approach – if you define the true value of product enhancements in the form of customer specific solutions prior to building them, your value propositions will be sharper and more relevant when you announce their availability, and the ROI should come much faster.
Step by step techniques (like the above) and tools that make them easy to do are a signature trademark of Product Management Courses from Proficientz. You won’t find a Product Management Framework or best-practice tools that make it easier to transition from the classroom to reality.
If you can’t use it, we don’t teach it. Contact Proficientz today to discuss how we can help you deliver, market and sell higher value solutions that accelerate growth.