How do I prioritize problems in business

Prioritizing and selecting ideas

As a product owner or manager, you are usually responsible for a long list of ideas and requirements. In order to use it sensibly and to develop good products, you have to know how to prioritize good ideas.

Successful and good products meet several criteria, each to a different degree. A helpful method to get clear about this positioning is a matrix that uses the dimensions "customer problem", "product", business model "and describes products with these dimensions:

  • Customer problem: A good product concentrates on "the important" customer concerns - but what are these?
  • product: The product should meet the requirements as well as possible, on the other hand, cost reasons often indicate that the product “cannot / should not be able to do everything” - what is useful then?
  • Business model: Products have to generate money, i.e. in addition to the customer problem and the product, the question of what customers (want to) pay for how much and what the product features then cost must be answered.

Usually you have to decide how to design the product features in this area of ​​tension. A good tool to make these dimensions visible are "Canvasse".

With the help of a canvas, you can organize your ideas in a targeted and structured manner. Here I just want to briefly outline these tools. In the appendix you will find references to articles and sources on the Internet that go further in depth.

A problem canvas, for example, is used to describe the customer problem and provides the following framework for this:

  • Customer: Describe the customers and customer groups for whom the problem is relevant. Also remember to differentiate between individual roles (customer sales representative, customer craftsman, etc.).
  • Problem: Describe the problem for each customer and for the group as a whole.
  • Scenario: When and where does the problem arise?
  • Solutions and alternatives: How could the problems be solved from the customer's point of view?
  • Criteria for success: What has to happen for customers to consider a problem solution to be sensible - which criteria are relevant?
  • Price and information about costs, etc., which allow you to draw conclusions about the price that a solution should have.

When you have developed one or more problem, product and business model canvasses, you should be clear about the dimensions in which your product operates and you should have a basis for evaluating the individual product characteristics before implementing them.

Evaluation procedures help you to evaluate your ideas in a structured way and to weigh them against each other. There are different methods and approaches.

  • The Kano Model helps you to understand which requirements are basic requirements, which performance features are expected, and which features are there to inspire the customer.
  • Prioritization matrix: Here you list the ideas and requirements on one axis and the individual assessment criteria on the other axis. You alone or in a team evaluate the individual cells, for example by distributing adhesive dots, or by using hard evaluation criteria and measuring. The ideas that end up with a particularly high total score are usually the best ideas.
  • With the help of Cost / value matrix you can sort products into quadrants to better understand the dimensions. On one axis you enter criteria such as development costs and risks, and on the other axis criteria such as the added value for customers. You can then use this matrix to find out where, for example, the characteristic is risky, but still hardly adds any value, i.e. what you can omit.

After you have positioned your product in the dimensions "customer problem", "product", business model ", you have used various Canvasse to describe the individual product features and criteria.

Finally, you have evaluated the individual ideas and requirements, e.g. using a prioritization matrix. You should therefore have all the information you need at this point to select your portfolio and plan the next implementation steps.

The original of this article is on → The product manager published (©Andreas Rudolph). Follow-up articles on the topic are available from the (→Mailing list), or by pressing →follow me on twitter.

In the online version of the article you will find the promised links here:

This entry was posted on Monday, May 28th, 2018 at 7:54 pm. It is filed under Agile & Scrum, Topic of the Day and tagged with Requirements, Examples, Development, Role of PM, Rollin, SCRUM. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.