How To Prioritise Using The Big Book of Prioritization
Don't miss out on this opportunity to transform your product development process and achieve success.
Product Management Is Searching for the Right Hill To Climb, and Then Climbing It as Fast as Possible
The idea of "putting the most important things first" is one of the things that used to make me nervous about product.
Scratch that. It still does.
In the solution space, there are so many infinite vectors, so many paths.
It can be hard to know where to even start.
What if it's a local maxima?
What if it isn't even a maxima at all, but instead a hill not worthy of climbing at all? What if I have the wrong problem space?
One strategy for dealing with this difficulty is to learn as much as possible about the problem space, and keep matching it with the solution space.
Researching your target audience and what drives them, analyzing usage data, and consulting experts are all ways to get this information.
The use of a methodology or framework to aid in decision-making is yet another option.
Frameworks Are for Knowing What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do
When you are faced with the immensity of life’s options, frameworks provide a path.
When you don’t know what to do in life, you can get married and have children.
This is an age-tested framework.
While it’s not guaranteed to make your life better, it will help you avoid wasting you life away completely. You can definitely do worse than doing what your ancestors have been doing for centuries.
Compared to what has worked for millions of people around the world and through the years, the chances of you being able to come up with a new way to do something that has been around for a long time are low.
So if you’re lost, use a framework.
After all, we all have limited time and resources, and we have to cast the die some day.
The Big Book of Prioritization: An Overview
I created this resource to make things easier for product people.
9/10 times, you won’t need this.
But when you do need this, you really need this.
I added 35 frameworks that I dissected and split into categories.
Now you won’t be using a RICE framework where you should really be working out a long-term strategy.
And if you don’t have much influence yet, you won’t waste time reading about high-level frameworks that you can’t actually apply yet.
It’s never enough to just follow a framework.
You’re still going to have to decide how to use your limited resources.
I put together a list of common (and uncommon) prioritisation strategies.
You don’t want to put all eggs in one basket.
These will help you decide on the right investment thesis.
You can do this all by yourself, but chances are, you need to bring others along for the ride.
Sure, you could just present the strategy back to stakeholders, or you could involve them in a series of workshops and co-design the strategy.
I researched and tested multiple workshop formats that help you hold the right conversations.
Frameworks and workshops need inputs - real data from real or potential customers.
I found tools that will help collect & decide what to prioritise first.
Finally, I compiled a list of the best articles on these topics.
Reading them will make you 10x more prepared for whatever’s coming your way.
Using the Big Book of Prioritization: Nimisha’s Story
Here’s a fictional short story about Nimisha, a product manager at a mid-market SaaS company.
Nimisha has under 3 years in product, and she feels like she’s just scratched the surface of what it is to be good at her product management craft.
She recently joined TrevorAI, a SaaS company capitalising on the rise of AI-based products that use GPT-3 under the hood.
The number of ideas and requests from different teams and stakeholders often made her feel overwhelmed. She knew she needed to put her work in order of importance, but she didn't know where to start or how to get others involved.
Nimisha found "The Big Book of Prioritization" one day, and it immediately interested her.
She bought the product and then spent the next few days exploring the contents.
She was especially impressed by how the 35 frameworks were broken down and put into groups. This made it easy for her to figure out which one would work best for her.
Nimisha decided to use one of the frameworks for her current project, which was to add a new feature to the software platform for the company.
She knew that there was more to being a PM, but she also knew that the CEO, Trevor, would need to trust her ability to ship before he opened up to her ideas about product strategy.
Nimisha used the tools suggested in the book to get information from real and potential customers, and she held a workshop to include her team and stakeholders in the process of deciding which parts of the feature to build first.
In that process, she was able to convince Trevor to avoid certain parts of the feature based on early customer feedback.
With the help of "The Big Book of Prioritization," Nimisha was able to come up with a clear strategy for putting her work in order of importance and getting other people involved in the process.
Because of this, the team was able to make better decisions and give the market a better product.
Nimisha was thankful for the book's advice and resources, and she told her coworkers about it.
Crafting a Winning Product Strategy
You know the importance of having a clear, focused product strategy.
A good strategy helps you set priorities, allocate resources, and make informed decisions about what to build and when.
It's the leveraged principled path to winning which guides your product development efforts and helps you achieve your business goals.
But what makes a good product strategy?
According to strategy expert Richard Rumelt, a good strategy is focused, coherent, and adaptive.
It addresses a specific challenge or opportunity and includes a clear plan of action for addressing it, in a way that makes business sense for you and isn’t unreasonable or wishy-washy.
It also takes into account the external environment and is flexible enough to adapt as conditions change.
This combination is really hard to figure out.
On the other hand, a bad product strategy is diffuse, disconnected, and inflexible.
It lacks a clear focus or plan of action and fails to take into account the external environment.
As a result, it can lead to wasted resources and missed opportunities.
With the Big Book of Prioritization, you’ll be able to create a strategy that has a higher chance of being focused, coherent and adaptive.
If something doesn’t work in your original plan, you can go back to the book and select other options and try again, with the full confidence that you’re not making any glaring mistakes.