Product managers are busy people. And while meetings with marketing, sales, engineering, design, and support teams may fill their weekly calendars, it is the work of managing ideas and feature requests that most commands their attention.
To offer maximum value to customers, great product managers know that each product feature must be prioritized effectively.
But with so many ideas and requests swirling around -- and stakeholders clamoring for their "pet" feature -- it can be all too easy to lose your firm grasp on the product's direction and allow divergent viewpoints to creep into the product roadmap.
Features should be added based on how they will add value for the product's end users. That value needs to be quantifiable, using metrics that reflect effort and reward. Product features should also be prioritized based on how well they match up to the overall business objectives.
Of course, this is easier said than done. With so many teams involved in each launch, it can be challenging to know where you should begin.
Efficient features management takes skill, even in single-product companies. But in more complex organizations? It takes real expertise.
Here are four tips to make feature prioritization more efficient -- and hopefully more enjoyable:
Stay true to goals
Explain your product's direction to all cross-functional teams involved with your product. Clearly articulate the value that new features will deliver to the customers and business. This clear, goal-first direction will ensure that you are all tracking towards the same finish line.
Lead with conviction
Product managers are the ones who make those tough decisions -- and that is why it is essential to lead with conviction. If you do not take action to resolve disagreements you run the risk of pushing indecision into engineering. They will either start building what they think is right or thrash and simply stall out.
Write more (and less) down
This approach gives you a record of what customers and product stakeholders are requesting. It also makes it possible for you to incrementally improve these ideas and add additional details over time. Perhaps most crucially, it helps you assess if feature requests align with the your goal-first approach.
Rank based on business value
As a product manager, the onus is on you to keep all teams on the same track to success.
Managing feature requests in a way that ties those features back to key business objectives and high-level goals is essential. And it is what separates so-so product managers from the great ones.