We've just launched a series of major updates to help you organize your feature ideas, flexibly push them into development planning tools, and prioritize around clear objectives. It's a big next step for us on the path to building the product management system of your dreams.  🌟 

How to update your project

When you're ready to get started with many of the enhancements below, admins will need to update your project in Settings!  👀 From there, look for the yellow banner.

Now, enough of this hemming and hawing (if not outright dilly-dallying)...

Here's what's new!

  • Capture feature ideas both large and small
  • Prioritize around clear objectives
  • Create multiple release groups
  • Ensure everyone has access to the right data
  • Jira integration: Push features as any issue type

Capture feature ideas both large and small

Some feature ideas represent major functionality that could take months to build. Others represent bite-sized (yet potentially important) enhancements. With the newly flexible product hierarchy, you can now capture ideas both large and small.

Introducing subfeatures

To those larger feature ideas you'd like to break down and specify further, you can now add subfeatures.

And for those smaller overlapping ideas that you come to see as part of something bigger, you can cluster them as subfeatures under a feature.

Subfeatures support many of the same data fields and actions as features, and they can be visualized on both the Features board and Roadmap. Still, like adolescents without summer jobs, they remain dependent on their parents. Features will continue to be the primary units for prioritizing ideas in productboard.

Changes to releases

Since features may now represent large ideas, they can also now span multiple releases. At the least that includes all the releases their subfeatures have been added to, but possibly more! 

  • Press shift to add a feature to multiple releases.

Changes to components

Along with these changes, components will be taking a step back out of the spotlight, resuming their role as the best way to organize new feature ideas – whether they represent user needs, areas of your product, or technical components.

If you previously used components to represent big feature ideas, you'll have features to do that from now on. This means following the update you'll no longer be able to apply prioritization/planning data directly to components.

  • Should you lose access to any important data previously applied directly to a component (e.g. driver scores), you can convert it to a feature and you'll see it restored.

Admins: Update your project in Settings to get started with subfeatures and a newly flexible product hierarchy.

More info: New subfeatures and updates to features/components

Prioritize around clear objectives

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

Increase our impact by expanding to customer segment Y... 

Close core feature gaps for user role Z... 

We’ve seen that the most effective product teams set clear objectives to ensure their work advances specific outcomes. Doing so boosts focus, morale, alignment, and accountability, leading to truly excellent products.

That’s why we’re introducing objectives as the next step in the evolution of initiatives in productboard.

Prioritizing with objective columns

Objectives will replace initiatives as one of the key prioritization criteria you can display on your Features board.

Along with this change, your initiatives will be converted to objectives. We recommend updating their names to be more about the outcomes you're driving towards – for your customers, your product, and business – rather than the solution you'll use to get there. (That's what features are for!)

When you've updated your objectives, or added some new ones, toggle them on as columns on your Features board.

Here's what you might do next:

  1. Score features based on how well they support each objective.
  2. Record effort estimates for each feature.
  3. Decide each feature's final priority within an objective (must-have, should-have, nice-to-have) by evaluating its value versus effort.
  4. Update each feature's status/release, based on its objective priority, to plan when it will be worked on.

At the end of this process, you can collapse the objective column to show just the final priority.

Prioritizing with the Prioritization matrix

The Prioritization matrix is available on the Team plan / Startup plan and above.

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.

Select an objective to see all the features that have been added to it.

  1. Drag features vertically to update their value to the objective. (Hold shift to lock horizontal position.)
  2. Drag features horizontally to update their effort estimates.
  3. Reference bubble size, representing each feature's User impact score.
  4. Set each feature's final priority to the objective, and add it to a release.

Access the matrix using the following Features board grouping:

More info: Using the Prioritization matrix

Grouping your Roadmap by objective

Just like initiatives, objectives can be used to group features as swimlanes 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.

More info: Prioritizing around clear objectives

Admins: Update your project in Settings to get started with objectives.

New release groups

Multiple release groups are available on the Enterprise plan / Scaling plan.

Use multiple release groups to manage different teams’ release schedules out of the same productboard project.

Or create a release group just for the broad time horizons you'll display on your company-wide Roadmap, keeping these separate from your product team's more granular release plans.

When you create a new release group it's shared with everyone by default, but you can also choose to share it with just makers, or keep it private.

Displaying releases from multiple release groups on your boards

On the Features board, you can show columns from multiple release groups simultaneously. When grouping features By release you can only use releases from one release group at a time.

On the Roadmap, you can only display releases from one release group at a time. So if you're using release groups to manage different teams' release schedules, features for each of these teams will be captured on a different saved view.

More info: Planning releases

Ensure everyone has access to the right data

Customizable field sharing is available on the Enterprise plan / Scaling plan.

Help everyone find the information that matters most to them, and restrict access to sensitive data or tentative prioritization/planning details. 

Share a saved view with individual users, or all users of a given user role.

Customizable sharing settings are also available on specific data fields:

  • Release groups
  • Objectives
  • Drivers
  • Prioritization scores
  • Tasks
  • Custom fields – number, text, dropdown

Sharing settings for individual fields include Private, Makers, and Company.

More info: 

Jira integration: Push features as any issue type

Jira users will love the new options for deciding the issue type of each feature/subfeature at the moment you push them into Jira.

Features will typically be pushed as epics, but can also be pushed as stories, bugs, tasks, or other custom issue types.

Subfeatures will typically be pushed as stories, but can also be pushed as bugs, tasks, subtasks, or other custom issue types.

Components will no longer be pushed to integrations

Components are just for organizing features now. It's features that represent big ideas you might go on to deliver. So if you previously pushed your lowest level of components into Jira as epics, you'll want to convert these to features now. Doing so will automatically convert underlying features to subfeatures.

If you previously pushed features into Jira as epics, you may not need to make any adjustments to your features. You'll just have the additional option of pushing subfeatures as stories. 

Admins: Update your project in Settings to get started with the new Jira integration enhancements.

The Jira integration is available on the Team plan / Startup plan and above.

More info: Integrating with Jira

Join us in celebrating all this new functionality and see what’s coming next! Check out team productboard's Product Portal.

Rooting for you,

Winston (& team productboard)

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