Prioritization

Written by on March 22, 2016

One of the most important aspects of what a Product Manager(PM) does is prioritization. In a world of limited resources (mostly developer time ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), it is really critical that the PM is getting the team to spend their energy on what matters most to the users.

Q: So how can a PM figure what a user wants?
A: Metrics & Talking/Listening to users.

Prioritizing Bugs: A combination of severity of a problem and its frequency is the most common metric (error metric) to turn to in order to prioritize bugs. Of course, if an issue is causing more vocal reaction from users, even if less frequent, you may want to look into it.

Prioritizing Enhancements: Make sure you prioritize enhancements that make a difference to your user experience – so focus on features that your most active users use to make sure their experience of using the product is getting better. Users often give great feedback on what enhancements they would like in a feature. Ask users of the feature how it could be made better for them. Ask non-users of a feature why they donโ€™t use it (be subtle – maybe tell them about it and let them react on why they donโ€™t use it).

Prioritizing Features: Try to understand what your most active users want, and what is causing your inactive users to lapse from using your product. Working on both of these can help you with your retention metrics.

Bucket Approach: Other than metrics and feedback from talking to segments of users, you may also want to keep your organizational goals in mind while prioritizing what your team works on. If you need to push on monetization, focus on how your enhancements and new features can help you make money.
It is often a good idea to put each of your potential changes under a bucket: Experience, Monetization, Engagement, Utility, etc. So you know what are the axis along you are pushing along your product (and where you are lacking).

Mobile app updates: Unlike web products, mobile app updates are usually done less frequently (say once or twice a month). This means, prioritization for each release becomes critical so you donโ€™t have to wait another 2 weeks before you push out an important fix or change.

Use a good metrics tool, log and analyze errors, and make sure you have a way to reach out to and ask questions to segments of users ( Have you tried Hotline yet?).
Prioritize your changes and make your update download-worthy for your users!

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