Quick start guide: Grid prioritization

This guide will help you set up an effective prioritization workflow. 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:

Relevant to new boards only

Introduction: Grids

Productboard works best when you shepherd your ideas through discovery and delivery stages using a series of grids tailored to your needs. Grids specialize in visualizing and prioritizing your features based on data provided by stakeholders. There are three main elements of a grid: its items, columns, and filters. 

Items

When you create a grid, you must choose its main item. This determines how the grid is organized, and can be changed at will later on. The available main items are objectives, initiatives, products, components, and features. 

After choosing a main item, you can choose which (if any) types of child entities should be included on your grid. For example, if you choose Products as your main item, you can choose to display Components and/or Features beneath them.

Columns

Columns display data fields for each row's item. 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. You can create new data fields from the Data section of your main menu.

To add a data field as a column to a grid:

  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 grid.

Edit data for a given entity by clicking directly on its value in the column. Rearrange columns on a board by clicking and dragging the column's header. 

Filters

Filters are useful for creating boards tailored to specific audiences or steps in a workflow. You can filter by many entity types and logic sets. See Advanced filtering for details. 

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 grid. 

Below you'll find descriptions of some useful data field types 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. You can add these data fields as columns to any grid.

Formulas (Coming soon)

Combine inputs from custom fields into a single score. Formulas are great for quantifying and estimating the realities of the EPD team when deciding what to build next. 

See Create your own prioritization formulas for details. 

Objectives

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. 

See Prioritize around clear objectives for details.

Customer Importance Score

When you link feedback to features, you generate Customer Importance Score. CIS tells you how many customers think a feature is nice to have (adds one point), important (two points), or critical (three points).

CIS 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 Use the Customer Importance 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: Releases work best when named after things like version numbers, quarters, relative periods of time (like Now, Next, and Later). Once added to a grid, 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: 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; delivery platforms are better for that. 

Delivery integrations can be added as columns to a grid 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, Azure DevOps, or other integrations for details.

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 lets you assign features to specific makers, which makes it easier to filter boards based on areas of responsibility.

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 two boards within a teamspace called Product Line: Galaxy 🌌. Both boards are grids. The first board’s filters, columns, and items are set to outline the product function’s strategy. Makers use that data to evaluate where they may have impact on the business goals. The second board includes the initiatives and features that will help to realize each objective, with the appropriate filters and columns to support each team in understanding what they are responsible for.

Step 4: Make sure your grid is accessible

If you're building boards and workflows that other people will use, don't forget to make sure the people who need to see the boards you've built can actually see them. Access to a grid is determined by that grid's parent teamspace. 

See Teamspace types and member access levels for details. 

See also

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