Over a year-long period of running Product, you might make hundreds or even thousands of both big and small decisions around what, when, and how you deliver certain pieces of your product roadmap.
Somewhere between the Product Team, Engineering, Sales, Customer Support, and the Business there will be a tremendous amount of horse-trading as you optimize your product delivery roadmap in real-time while observing your customers reaction to new releases, the performance of sales, changes in the market, how your customer support team is coping, and if your engineering resources are stable.
The decisions you make might include: a) pivoting your team to work on another feature, b) changing scope, c) delaying or accelerating releases, d) redesigning features and enhancements, or e) changing how you position or market a certain capability of your platform.
If this is your reality, it pays to use an evidence-based roadmapping approach so that you can be clear with yourself and other stakeholders regarding the tradeoffs you’re making at any given time on your delivery roadmap.
Below are 7 factors that you might use to prioritize your roadmap items and make key decisions. Some teams score these items based on relative weightings specific to what they think is important to their business.
7 Dimensions of Product Roadmap Prioritization
1. Growth (Revenue, Usage, Customers)
What growth metric is critical for your Product to drive? Choose the most important one to your business and use that when prioritizing. You can still track the less important metrics.
2. Customer Demand
What are the capabilities your customers are most clamoring for? This doesn’t always have a direct correlation with customer value (see below).
3. Customer Value
Features and capabilities with value usually solve for some key customer pain. Sometime this may be pain the customer doesn’t realize they have.
4. Strategic Alignment
Your company or organization likely has some top-level strategic goals, e.g. “we want to be the best online pet store.” How well do your roadmap items align with these overarching objectives?
5. Competitive Advantage
Is the roadmap item needed in order to compete with other product offerings in the market? The answer partially depends on how you interpret the impact of the moves your competition is making.
Does the roadmap item help scale a part of either the product, the team, or your costs structure? e.g you might roll out a new data import feature that requires less manual intervention by your team.
7. Technical Debt
Every product has some technical debt. After some time if you don’t “pay down” this debt it can slow down your development velocity or create security vulnerabilities. Some roadmap items may score highly in terms of paying down this kind of debt.