By Andrei Marfievici, Agile Coach, ClearPoint

In today’s product world, Design Thinking, Lean and Agile methodologies are at the forefront of product design and delivery approaches. By placing customer needs first, building in small increments, delivering early, fast and often, our product teams are becoming more high-performing. This enables us to continuously improve whilst also delivering benefits back to the business.

Design Thinking Lean Agile

Working in a fast-paced environment, where teams are continuously delivering, has many advantages. But what happens when we can’t keep up? What happens when there are too many ideas coming into the pipeline for the team to take on? You have feedback from customers, as well as business stakeholders with their requirements. And let’s not forget your product team who are always thinking about ways to improve. As a Product Manager or Product Owner, it’s not easy to find the right balance and decide what the team needs to work on next.

In this blog, we’ll give you the step-by-step guide on Product Prioritisation. We’ll explore a simple path to help you define an idea and how to prioritise it as a work item in a product backlog.

Everything starts with the Product Vision

Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO once said: ”Be stubborn with your vision and flexible on the details.
Anyone can have an idea about your product. But the product vision should be the first filter in the prioritisation process. Make sure every idea contributes to achieving the vision. If you have a product vision, write it at the top of your product wall in big bold letters. If you don’t yet have a product vision, Roman Pichler has some great tips for creating a compelling product vision.


A step-by-step process for creating and prioritising ideas

You can use the following process to help your product team review the ideas against customer needs, identify their value vs the benefits, explore the high value ideas more deeply, score them using WSJF and ensure you create a product wall.

The Product Wall

We recommend having the prioritisation sessions at a physical product wall. This will foster better collaboration and productivity. The Product Manager is usually the person in charge of facilitating these sessions. Give it a go and let us know what you think!

Step 1: Assessing your ideas against customer needs

Anyone can have an idea about anything related to your product. And that’s ok. You want to encourage anyone in your business to come up to the wall at any time and add a new idea. Where does it fit? What part of your product does it impact? What customer problem is it addressing? Or is it a new opportunity?

For this step, we use the customer value pyramid approach as illustrated below from Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs”. We then invite people to write ideas on post-its and place them on the pyramid in the relevant area. Every idea should have a name, an owner and a short description. Make sure you involve the owner of that idea in the subsequent steps.


The Elements of Value Pyramid

Step 2: Identify Value vs Benefits

This step requires a prioritisation forum – an empowered group of people who will make decisions considering all aspects. You need to meet regularly for a prioritisation session to collectively decide where it sits from a customer value/business benefit perspective, through using your experience and intuition. The ideas that are placed in the top-right quadrant (high CV and high BB) are to proceed to the next step.






Step 3: Idea Discovery

Now we dig deeper and explore each of the high-value ideas identified in Step 2.

Some may require more discovery work such as customer interviews, customer testing, staff insights, technical feasibility, risk assessment, or financial analysis. A group of people will own an idea and complete the necessary discovery activities, to get it ready to score.

The ideas that are not ready to score need more discovery and will be looked at again in the next prioritisation session.

Ready to Score

Step 4: Scoring the Ideas using WSJF

By now, we have a good number of ideas that we have collectively groomed as being the highest value from the group and are ready to score. But how do they score relative to one another or against the existing items in the product backlog? This is when you can use the ‘Weighted Shortest Job First’ or WSJF prioritisation model.

WSJF Prioritisation model






What happens next

From here on, the work items go into delivery mode. The ideas become user stories and they get added to the product backlog. A development team using SCRUM will have a prioritised backlog to work on.
The prioritisation forum then starts again at Step 1 as this is a continuous improvement process in delivering value – and it will get better every time you do it!



This prioritisation guide is a design-led, lean process to feed an agile backlog. It works as a funnel for continuous improvement and will ensure that we are working on the right things in a time and cost-effective way (highest value items first) whilst delivering early, fast and often using Agile methodologies (like SCRUM – building the things right).

Continuous Delivery of value


If you need support with your product prioritisation process, ClearPoint can help.  Get in contact with us today or view our services in product and platform management.