Question: How do product managers prioritize requirements?
As I see it, requirements are derived from customer feedback and evaluating competition (marketing), technical limitations as well as innovations technology), and factors that will delight the end-users (design). I suppose you could also include esoteric inputs like intuition, personal tastes & references, etc.
But how do you prioritize one issue over another? Do you pick one of these inputs (ie: design) as the driver and then let the other inputs weight the priority list? What’s the magic formula? Or at least, what’s the formula you can use to justify your choices to management or a client?
Answer from Jeff Lash of How To Be a Good Product Manager: There are different methods and tools that product managers use — there’s no one right or universal answer. In my experience, it comes down to first having a vision, strategy, and goals, and then looking at what will help you meet those goals.
What might be a “good” feature for one product would be a “bad” feature for another product which has a different strategy or is targeting a different type of customer, for example.
Obviously you then look at market research, competition, stakeholders requests, technical constraints or opportunities, and other factors. Sometimes it can be measured and chosen quantitatively — in CPG and more traditional product industries they have very advanced
techniques they use — but for a lot of web and software products it often comes down to qualitative and subjective judgment. Of course, on the web we have a great ability to use analytics to track whether we made the right decisions — is anyone using this new feature? Is revenue increasing? Did we improve our conversion rate?
I’ve known people who have tried scorecards, ranking systems, voting
(see Product Development is not a democracy), but ultimately these are just ways to avoid the responsibility that product managers have to ultimately make the important decisions.
There’s no magic formula, and in the end it might be that what makes a GOOD product manager vs. a BAD one is his/her ability to take these hundreds/thousands of inputs and make good decisions — and learn from bad ones.