With user needs constantly changing, it is more important than ever for organizations to adapt and ensure their products and services are meeting customer needs and supporting growth. 

In today’s product world, the importance of human centered design and design thinking are integral to product design and delivery. By placing customer needs first, building in small increments, delivering early and often, product teams become increasingly high-performing and add value faster. This approach enables teams to continuously improve whilst delivering value and benefit to customers and the organization.

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? When there is feedback from customers, business stakeholder requirements and the product team looking for ways to improve? A product owner is a key member of the team that brings things together to find the right balance and identify areas of priority. The product owner works to maximize product value against a variety of constraints such as budget, timelines, capacity and resource.

In identifying areas of priority, product prioritisation helps define an idea and prioritise this as a work item in a product backlog. The following process should help product teams review ideas against customer needs, identify value vs benefits, explore high value ideas more deeply, utilise the jobs-to-be done framework and establish a strong product wall.

  1. Start with a product vision – all product ideas should contribute to achieving an overarching product vision. Create a compelling product vision and ensure it is reiterated throughout mood boards, product walls, meetings etc. 
  2. Using a product wall – Build out a product wall using tools such as Figma or Miro which enables online collaboration and productivity. Sessions around prioritisation should centre on the product wall with the relevant product owner / manager facilitating these sessions. 
  3. Assess ideas against customer needs – Adding new ideas to the product wall should be encouraged by all within the business. The following questions should be asked against each idea: where does it fit? What part of your product does it impact? What customer problem is it addressing? Is it a new opportunity? Consider the value of the idea against the customer value pyramid approach with every item having a name, owner and short description. Ideas should fall into a social impact, life changing, emotional or functional category.
  4. Identify value vs benefits – Establish a prioritisation forum, made up of people who make decisions considering where each idea sits from a customer value / business benefit perspective. The ideas established as having high customer value and high business benefit should proceed to next steps.
  5. Idea discovery – High value ideas established in Step 4 may require additional discovery work such as customer interviews and testing, staff insights, technical feasibility, risk assessment and financial analysis. This stage should outline which ideas are ready to score or need further discovery and consideration at the next prioritisation forum session. 
  6. Utilise the jobs-to-be-done framework – With a number of high value ideas ready to consider relative to others or existing items in the product backlog, the jobs-to-be-done theory can be utilized to establish an updated delivery roadmap. The theory provides a framework for defining, categorizing, capturing, and organizing all your customers’ needs.
  7. Let the data guide you – Leverage available analytics and data around your customers (if available) to identify potential impact and therefore importance of a feature to the customer.
  8. Delivery mode – Work items are outlined in the delivery roadmap and added in order of priority to the product backlog for teams to work through. 
  9. Repeat process – As a continuous improvement process in delivering value, this should be a reiterative process. 

This approach is a design led, lean process to support an agile backlog of product improvement and development. It works as a funnel for continuous improvement and will ensure product teams are working on the right things in a timely and cost-effective way.

ClearPoint are market leaders in product strategy, design and delivery. We can support you to deliver amazing experiences for your customers. Our product owners and product teams alongside engineering and design ensure you’re delivering true customer-centric software and experiences. Get in touch with us today if you need support alongside your product teams.