Quick start guide: Prioritization

These four steps will help you set up an effective prioritization workflow. If you've got room for more holistic training, we recommend visiting Productboard Academy instead of reading this guide, but if you're strapped for time, you're in the right place!

Each section below outlines key concepts and contains links to other articles in case you need more details. The guide assumes you know what Productboard is and have an understanding of how navigation, board creation, and data structures work.

In this article:

Introduction: Feature boards

Productboard works best when you shepherd your ideas through discovery and delivery stages using a series of feature boards tailored to your needs. Feature boards specialize in visualizing and prioritizing your features based on data provided by stakeholders. The most important parts of a features board are its columns, which display the data you'll use to make prioritization decisions, but groupings and filters play an important role too. 

See Common features board configurations for details. 

Columns

Columns display data fields for each row's entity. Using columns to view and edit data is more efficient than clicking on a feature to open it and editing its details from the sidebar, but both methods show the same data.

To add columns to a features board:

  1. Click the Add columns button at the top of your hierarchy.
  2. Select a category from the column sidebar that appears.
  3. Toggle the slider beside a data field to add it to the board.

Create a new data field with the PlusCircle-1.svg Create button at the bottom of the sidebar and edit the values of an existing data field by clicking its name. Rearrange columns on a board by clicking and dragging the column's header. 

Groupings

Groupings let you examine your hierarchy in several ways.

  • Hierarchy is best for visualizing relationships between hierarchy entities.
  • Sorted list is ideal for prioritization based on column data. Sort by clicking the Dots-1.svg More actions button at the top of a column.
  • Release  and Status are good for capacity planning. 
  • Matrix  is a graph for visually comparing features against an objective. 

Filters

Filters are useful for creating boards tailored to specific audiences or steps in a workflow. 

Step 1: Prepare your framework

RICE, ICE, KANO, and MoSCoW are examples of popular prioritization frameworks; your organization likely uses one already. Productboard doesn't prescribe a specific framework, but instead gives you the tools to model whatever you use with relatively little effort. First, create the data fields you'll need and add them as columns to a features board. 

Below you'll find descriptions of some useful data fields that will help you prioritize based on the realities of your product team, the strategic goals of your business, and the needs of your customers. The list is not exhaustive; you will discover more as you use Productboard. 

See How to use common prioritization frameworks in Productboard for examples that incorporate the fields below. 

Drivers, effort, and prioritization scores

These fields take metrics and combine them into a single score. They're great for quantifying and estimating the realities of the EPD team when deciding what to build next. 

  • Driver (Add columns > Drivers & Scores): a label and a score out of five. Labels can be anything: Value, Reach, Confidence, Tech debt, Market fit, whatever.
  • Effort (Add columns > Default fields): A number between 0 and 999,999 (inclusive). It can represent story points, work weeks, person hours, or whatever metric by which you measure effort. 
  • Prioritization score (Add columns > Drivers & Scores): A set of sliders that let you determine how much weight each driver contributes to a total. You can divide this total by effort if you wish. 
Note: Each box in a driver represents 20 points on a 100-point scale for calculating scores. 

See Use drivers and prioritization scores for details. 

Objectives

This column (Add columns > Objectives) lets you rank features against your business' strategic goals in three dimensions. Click the dotted bubble to associate a feature with an objective, then hover over the cell to edit objective data. 

  • Value behaves just like a driver, but it won't appear in your drivers list or be affected by any other drivers named Value.
  • Effort behaves just like the effort field because it is literally the same data. A feature only has one effort field, so wherever you see effort, it's always the same. 
  • Priority is unique to objectives. It indicates time pressure to help break value score ties. 

See Prioritize around clear objectives for details.

User Impact Score

When you link feedback to features, you generate User Impact Score (Add columns > Default fields). UIS tells you how many customers think a feature is nice to have (adds one point), important (two points), or critical (three points).

UIS is an integral part of Productboard because it represents the voice of the customer, but you can't use it if you don't collect and process customer feedback. See the Academy or Quick start guide: Feedback for more details. 

See Use the user impact score to surface your top-requested features for details.

Step 2: Add planning and tracking tools

After you've decided what to build next, these columns help you keep track of when you'll build them and how they're coming along. 

Releases and timeframes

These columns define your features' relationships with time, making them important for roadmapping. 

  • Releases (Add columns > Releases): Releases work best when named after things like version numbers, quarters, relative periods of time (like Now, Next, and Later). Once added to a features board, you can assign features to a release by filling in the dotted bubble. You can assign any number of features to one or more releases.
  • Timeframe (Add columns > Default fields): Timeframes explicitly represent date ranges. Each feature can only have one timeframe, which you set by choosing a start period and an optional end period from the feature's timeframe cell. The periods can be high-level (like spans of years or months) or specific (this day to that day). 

See Plan releases to decide what to deliver when for details. 

Delivery integrations

Productboard is designed for product management, not product development. It works in concert with tools like Jira and Azure DevOps to keep your exploration and execution phases linked but uncluttered.

If you currently use a delivery platform to make prioritization decisions, stop; Productboard is better for that. If you're planning on having your engineering teams use Productboard to track user story progress and squash bugs, don't; Jira or ADO is better for that. 

Both integrations can be added as columns to a features board and allow you to push features from Productboard, import issues into Productboard, and sync several types of fields bi-directionally.

See the dedicated articles on Jira and Azure DevOps for details.

2021-01-29_15.21.50.gif

Step 3: Optimize your workflow

Once you've modeled your prioritization framework in Productboard, use the techniques below to increase your team's efficiency 

Assign owners to features

The Owner column column (Add columns > Default fields) lets you assign features to specific makers, which makes it easier to filter boards based on areas of responsibility.

If you need to assign a feature to additional users (engineering managers, designers, PMMs, whatever), you can create custom member fields from Add columns > Custom fields. Custom member fields aren't restricted to makers like the default owner field is. 

Features aren't the only things that can be assigned to owners. See Owning entities in Productboard for details. 

Model your workflow across several boards

Don't try to cram every piece of your prioritization system into a single board—it'll be difficult to read. Instead, spread your system out across several boards and have each one focus on a specific question. This also allows you to support multiple product teams with different workflows, as you can give each team its own folder and set of boards so they can use their own frameworks without being limited by the needs of other teams. 

For example, the above image shows four boards within a teamspace called Product Line: Galaxy 🌌. Boards two and three are feature boards. Board two's filters, columns, and grouping are set to determine each feature's value for effort. Makers use that data to decide which ideas are good enough for discovery, then move them to step three by changing their status to agree with that board's filters. 

See Create different boards for each stage of your workflow (or watch the video below) for details.   

Step 4: Share the workflow

If you're building boards and workflows that other people will use, don't forget to share the boards with them. Remember, joining a teamspace doesn't mean you're able to see every board in that teamspace—each board has its own individual sharing options. Make sure the people who need to see the boards you've built can actually see them. 

See Fundamentals of Productboard for details. 

See also

Was this article helpful?
0 out of 0 found this helpful

Comments

0 comments

Article is closed for comments.

Articles in this section

Our Support hours:
Monday to Friday from 9:00 am - 2:00 am CET. Monday to Friday from 0:00 am - 5:00 pm PST.
Productboard Academy
Become a Productboard expert with self-paced courses, quick tip videos, webinars and more.
Product Makers Community
Connect with product leaders, share and find product jobs, and learn how to approach similar challenges. Come join our Product Makers community.