Prioritizing a product backlog can be more of an art than a science. It doesn’t help that priorities can change over time given any number of arbitrary factors which is why it’s important to grab data points where you can about customer and market impact. Here are some questions I consider when prioritizing product backlog:
- How many hours of implementation will be saved for customers and field services
- Will it enable us to take an existing product down market (if this is part of the broader corporate strategy)?
- How many additional customers will we be able to attract with the new capabilities?
- How will the new capabilities allow us to compete more effectively
- How many customers will benefit (the actual number), and in what ways?
- Will it improve Net Promoter Scores, and specifically for which users?
- Will it keeps us out of trouble with a client or group of clients
- Was it previously promised to one or more customers (it does happen, but not the best way to prioritize!)?
If you had to stand in front of your senior management team or shareholders and justify how you’re going to use the company’s precious engineering time, what information would you use? What other factors do you use to prioritize your backlog?