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How to Prioritize Product Features as Product Manager

As a Product Manager, you are responsible for deciding which features to prioritize in your product development roadmap. In this article, we will explore the steps to take when prioritizing features to ensure that you are providing the most value to your customers and company.

Affinity Mapping with sticky notes on a whiteboard

Prioritizing product features requires a systematic approach that considers both user needs and business objectives. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can ensure that you are providing the most value to your customers and company.

1. Understanding Business Objectives

The first step in prioritizing product features is understanding your business objectives. This includes understanding your company's overall goals and how your product fits into those goals. By aligning your product roadmap with your company's goals, you can ensure that your product is contributing to the company's success.

2. Gathering Data

To make informed decisions, you need data. Collect data on your current users and how they are using your product. Conduct user research to understand their needs and pain points. Use this data to inform your feature prioritization process.

3. Brainstorming Features

Brainstorm potential features that could address user pain points and align with your business objectives. Encourage your team to be creative and think outside the box.

4. Evaluating Features

Evaluate each potential feature using Execution Difficulty and Product Risk/Reward as your two key factors. Execution Difficulty refers to the estimated amount of work required to implement a given direction. Product Risk/Reward refers to the estimated effects expected from implementing a given direction.

5. Trade-offs and Risks

When prioritizing product features, it is important to consider the trade-offs and risks of each potential solution. By analyzing the trade-offs and risks, you can make educated decisions that will increase your company's profits by increasing your product's value to users.

6. Selecting a Direction

Based on your analysis, select a direction that is most likely to provide customers and the company with the most value. This should be a direction that has the lowest execution difficulty and highest product risk/reward.

7. Targeting Test Users

Select test users who will likely provide unbiased data and feedback so that your team can objectively analyze whether the recommended feature and its hypothesis are successful. Choose users based on a combination of relevant metrics and signals.

8. Deploying to Test Users

Deploy the feature to test users with a feature management solution such as LaunchDarkly. Notify the selected users that they may participate in the alpha test of the feature and ask them to turn the feature on. Track metrics and signals to evaluate how the new feature affects user engagement.

9. Defining Success Metrics

Define and track metrics and signals to evaluate how the new feature affects user engagement. This will assist you in determining whether business objectives would be met by making the new feature available to all target users.

10. Creating User Stories

Create user stories to explain how a software feature will benefit the consumer. User stories provide a brief, general description of a software feature written from the perspective of the end-user.

11. Outlining UI and Wireframing

Based on your user stories and feature requirements, outline the user interface and create wireframes to explore the concept of your feature.

12. Refining, Mock Ups, and Prototypes

Refine your wireframes, create mockups, and prototype the final product. Show test users to gather feedback and make improvements.

13. Launching the Feature

Once you have gathered enough data and feedback from your test users, launch the feature to all target users.

14 Analyze Results

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