Help users perform core job-to-be-done X...

Grow our impact on the world by expanding to customer segment Y... 

Close core feature gaps experienced by user role Z... 

Clear objectives have been shown to boost the focus of product teams – and the morale, alignment, engagement, and accountability of their members.

That’s why we’re introducing the objective as a new entity – a natural progression in productboard’s capabilities for helping your product team drive toward clear measurable outcomes for your customers, product, or business.

Objectives: the next evolution of initiatives

Objectives are replacing initiatives as the new way to group features that support a common… well… objective.

The biggest enhancement over initiatives is that you can now set a preliminary score to indicate how valuable a feature is to an objective (similar to drivers) in addition to setting a final priority (must-have, should-have, nice-to-have) based on additional factors, like effort.

You can also use the matrix grouping on the Features board to prioritize features within an objective.

And just like initiatives, objectives can be used to group features on the Roadmap. But since they're aligned with specific outcomes you're driving towards, objectives implicitly communicate the why behind every feature grouped beneath them.

What are objectives?

Objectives are clear, measurable goals aligned with specific outcomes you're striving to achieve – for your customers, product, or business.

A customer objective could be solving the core needs of customer segment X. (As evidenced by your win-rate in those types of deals surpassing 30%.)

A product objective could be driving user adoption. (As evidenced by your monthly active users (MAU) increasing by 5%.)

A business objective could be introducing magical functionality that drives upgrades to your premium plan. (As evidenced by a 20% increase in upgrades and 10% increase in sales-touched deals.)

Whatever your objectives are, there are likely enhancements you can make to your product (features!) to help achieve them.

Product teams at startups may set new objectives every 6-8 weeks. More established product organizations tend to set new product objectives once a quarter.

If your organization uses a system of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), many of your product objectives will derive from the organization's current top-level objectives. In other cases, objectives will be derived bottom-up, e.g. based on user insights you've received, market intelligence you've gathered, or your own product strategy.

Adding objectives to your Features board

If you already have initiatives in productboard, they can now automatically be updated to objectives. 

  • If your workspace hasn't been updated yet, your admins can do so at any time via the in-app prompts.
  • If you previously used initiatives to group small ideas under one big idea, you can use features and subfeatures for that now!

You can also add new objectives from the field configurations bar on the Features board. From here you can also toggle on any objectives to display them as columns on your board.

When naming your objectives in productboard, we recommend using succinct shorthand so they're easy to read and recognize wherever they appear on your boards. You can then add more context in each objective's description field, including the key results / KPIs you'll use to track your success.

Prioritizing features with objectives

Here's how you might use objective columns to prioritize features:

1/ First score features based on how well they support each objective. This will allow you to sort/filter your board by features that support a given objective.

2/ Next record effort estimates for each feature, especially those most valuable to each objective. (Optional)

3/ Within an objective, evaluate each feature's value and effort to decide its final priority (must-have, should-have, nice-to-have).

4/ Sort your board for a given objective:

  • By value (preliminary score)
  • By score (quotient of value and effort)
  • By priority (final priority)

5/ As you conclude this process, collapse the objective column to show just the final priority.

Using the Prioritization matrix

To visualize the value/effort tradeoff for features within an objective, and identify low-hanging-fruit features, use the Prioritization matrix, a new grouping option on the Features board.

Updating your workspace to begin using objectives

Some final notes on what to expect when you update your workspace:

  • All of your initiative data for each feature will be retained (priority, value on the matrix, status, owner, comments, etc.) – it will simply now appear within an "objective".
  • The one thing you won’t see after updating your workspace is drivers on the Prioritization matrix. We learned this caused confusion so we simplified things by removing this option for now.
  • Once you update to the new objectives, there’s no going back! Then again, we doubt you’ll want to.

Admins: You can now update your workspace at any time to get started with objectives, as well as other updates like the new flexible product hierarchy. You'll be prompted the next time you log in to productboard.

Using drivers with objectives

If you previously used drivers to represent objectives — whether relating to user needs or business goals — you can now use objectives for that. However, drivers may still come in handy as secondary prioritization criteria.

For example, while your main objective may be to expand into a new market segment, you could use drivers like satisfier and delighter to indicate which features are tablestakes and which are innovative/unexpected. 

You might also use a driver to represent something core to the way you differentiate in the market, or something near and dear to your team's product principles. An example would be a UX magic driver that keeps the team focused on shipping features most likely to delight — especially important when you're up against clunky competitors.

All in all, drivers are useful when you end up with too many "must-haves" within an objective and need additional criteria to decide which to build next.

Did this answer your question?