We've covered the basics on how to capture and organize feature ideas, now it's time to prioritize what we'll work on next!

Here's all you need to know to get started: 🎥 

Prioritize what to build next

Deciding what to build next typically boils down to answering two questions:

  • What do users need most?
  • What will help sustain and grow our business?

And maybe somewhere in the middle of those two... what best supports our product strategy?

You can start answering these questions by adding data fields to your board as columns that represent helpful prioritization criteria. These columns can be shown, hidden, or customized using the configuration bar at right.

The user impact score

The user impact score is a great column to start with because it helps you surface the features that best address user needs.

It does this by calculating a score for each feature based on how many users have "insights" linked to it, weighted by how important the feature is to them. 

(We'll get to how user insights are created and categorized on the Insights board later.)

By arranging features as a list and sorting by user impact score, you'll quickly see the top-requested features rise to the top.

Apply filters to recalculate your score based only on recent feedback, or only those requests deemed critical (liable to end in churn or lost deals if not acted upon).

You can even see which features have been requested by certain customers or companies.

Objectives

Objectives are another important data field that can be displayed as columns on your boards.

They represent goals aligned with specific outcomes you're striving to achieve – for your customers, product, or business.

Examples include:

  • Increase new user adoption
  • Drive user engagement
  • Expand to market segment Z

You can use them to score features – based on how well they support each objective – and then sort, filter, and group those features to aid in prioritization.

There are many other column types for prioritization, not least of which is drivers which act as miscellaneous criteria that you can aggregate into custom-weighted prioritization scores. Experiment with these columns and see what works best for supporting your team's process.

Factoring in effort

At a certain phase in the process, you'll want to ground your prioritization in reality by factoring in effort estimates. Which high-value features are feasible to build?

For this you can use objective columns, which allow you to calculate a score by dividing each feature's objective value by effort.

You can also use the matrix grouping on the Features board, which allows you to visualize the precise value/effort tradeoff for features in your top objectives. 

Based on these analyses you can then set a final priority for each feature within each objective: must have, should have, or nice to have.

Plan what to build when

So you've surfaced some ideas that address user needs and support your current objectives. You've considered which are most feasible and set their priority accordingly. What next?

If your team relies on planning releases in advance to determine when you intend to make certain functionality available, you can add release columns to your board. Then group your features By release to fine-tune your release plans.

If your team is more flexible and fluid in your planning – Kanban or continuous delivery – you might prefer to rely more on status which can be used to track features as they progress from being a new idea, through discovery, to delivery, and ready for launch. The precise status values you choose can be customized. These too can be displayed as a grouping on your board.

Whether you favor using releases, status (or both), for planning, you can use each of these as a primary grouping option on your Roadmap as well.

Monitor progress

As you move from prioritization and planning to delivery, you'll begin spending more time considering the tasks required for each feature as you prepare to develop and then launch it.

Task columns

Common tasks spanning many of your features can be added as task columns on your board.

Task column examples:

  • Prototype
  • Final designs
  • Development
  • Release notes

For each you could track the task's current status. (This status is independent of the status of the feature itself.)

If you invite members from the broader product team into productboard (including design, engineering, documentation, and marketing), they'll be able to use task columns to keep track of deliverables they're responsible for.

One type of task requires special mention: that of developing the feature! This is often tracked in project management tools like Trello, JIRA, Pivotal Tracker, or GitHub Issues. productboard offers a special task column that appears when you integrate with any of these solutions. It allows you to push features straight to engineering and track their status right from within productboard.

See what matters to you

If you work alongside other product teams and all of you share the same productboard w, you'll want to filter your Features board to show just those features that matter to you.

You can do that using the Hierarchy filter.

Likewise, certain columns, filters, and board configurations may be especially helpful to return to regularly, or to share with others. You can save these as saved views.

While you have different sets of saved views for your Features board and Roadmap, they work in the same way.

Next steps

✅  Review the column types

Review all the column types in the configurations bar at right. Which will be most useful for your team? Don't worry if there are some you don't think you'll use just yet. You may well find a need for them down the road.

✅  Review the saved views

In the upper left, review the existing saved views of your Features board. These common configurations are a good start but you'll want to add a few of your own! What views of your prioritization/planning data will be most useful for you to return to or share with colleagues?

✅  Clear sample data 

When ready to delete the sample product (including all underlying features): Select it and in the side pane that appears, find the delete option in the upper right menu.

Or, if you'd like to hold on to the sample data for now but hide it from view, filter it off your board with the filter menu (Hierarchy filter).

Wrap-up

That's it for the Features board! You're all up to speed on how productboard can help you confidently decide what to build next (and ensure your precious feature ideas actually see the light of day).

Next up, we'll take a closer look at the Insights board, where you can consolidate ideas, requests, and feedback to understand what users really need.

See also

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