Note: The Essentials plan comes with only one built-in driver called Value
Drivers are miscellaneous criteria you can use to surface interesting ideas or prioritize what to build next.
They're particularly valuable for scoring features and subfeatures in the early phases of prioritization, since they can be used along with the user impact score to sort/filter features and subfeatures that best support multiple criteria.
Drivers can also be used later during planning to fine-tune the prioritization of features and subfeatures within an objective or release.
In this article:
- Examples of drivers
- How to add a driver to your Features board
- How Drivers are calculated at a Componet and Product level
- Using prioritization scores
- Dividing your prioritization score by effort
Examples of drivers
Drivers are often framed as broad attributes. For example, if one of the core ways your product differentiates itself in a market full of clunky enterprise tools is through a delightful user experience, you could evaluate all your ideas based on how much they'd contribute to the UX magic of your product.
Borrowed from the Kano model, one of the simplest ways to prioritize is considering to what degree each feature and subfeature is simply expected, or would surprise and delight:
- Satisfier – Table stakes, baseline functionality necessary to compete
- Delighter – Exciting, innovative, or new functionality
To this you might add drivers representing qualities that help you stay ahead of the competition:
- Differentiator – sets you apart from the competition
- Spoiler – closes the gap between you and a competitor's differentiator
Other drivers might represent other positive outcomes that could be brought about by each idea:
- Cost reducer
- Platform reliability
- User delight
- User adoption
- User engagement
One more way to use drivers is to score features and subfeatures based on how well they support the needs of different groups of stakeholders/customers. (As we'll discuss below, one advantage drivers have over the native segment fields is they can be factored into prioritization scores.)
- Closing new business
- Retention/expansion for existing customers
- Supporting third-party partners
- Supporting internal customers
The values you set here may be informed by the user impact score. If you're on a Scale or Enterprise plan, you can even distinguish which features are needed by different segments.
Drivers vs. objectives
Of course, if any of these drivers represent your primary strategic focus at the moment — and could be framed as objectives that could be considered done once certain conditions are met — they may be best represented as objectives in Productboard.
Compared to drivers, objectives support a more robust prioritization workflow and act more like initiatives. They can also be used to group features on the Prioritization matrix and Roadmap.
Using drivers with objectives
Drivers can be used alongside objectives as secondary prioritization criteria.
For example, while your main objective may be to expand into a new market segment, you could use drivers like satisfier and delighter to indicate which features and subfeatures are table-stakes and which are innovative/unexpected.
You might also use a driver to represent something core to the way you differentiate in the market, or something near and dear to your team's product principles. An example would be a UX magic driver that keeps the team focused on shipping features and subfeatures most likely to delight — especially important when you're up against clunky competitors.
All in all, drivers are useful when you end up with too many "must-haves" within an objective and need additional criteria to decide which to build next.
How to add a driver to your Features board
Like all column types, you can show/hide drivers on your Features board using the configurations bar at right.
Toggle on the entire column group, then individual drivers.
Add new drivers by selecting [+] New driver.
How Drivers are calculated at a Componet and Product level
The driver indicator at the component level is not a score or rating, but rather a comparison or indication of a component's perceived impact within a product, based on the values of other drivers within the product.
As you add more features and drivers under a component, the overall impact of an individual feature and driver score will be less intense. You can compare the Driver value of a component to other components to get an overall idea of which component may have the biggest impact compared to others. However, the Driver value is not a direct representation of the underlying driver scores for the underlying features, as the overall impact is diluted with more features.
Using prioritization scores
Once you've scored your features and subfeatures along each of several drivers, you can sort/filter your board by individual drivers, or use a prioritization score to incorporate them all into a single value.
Show a prioritization score on your board under Drivers & Scores. This is also where you can add a new prioritization score.
Customize each driver's relative weight (out of 100%) in factoring into the final prioritization score:
You can even create multiple prioritization scores, each factoring in different drivers with varying weights!
- Weights that don't add up to 100% will be automatically normalized behind the scenes to calculate a provisional score.
- Drivers weighted 0% won't be factored into your score.
- It is not yet possible to incorporate objectives into prioritization scores.
Dividing your prioritization score by effort
Optionally, divide your prioritization scores by the estimated development effort.
- No effort estimates yet? Not a problem. Just use the prioritization score to preliminarily surface promising ideas and incorporate effort estimates later when you can get them for just those ideas with the most potential value. Good estimates can be time-consuming after all! (You might even choose to visualize effort on the Prioritization matrix.)
Only the native effort field can be factored into scores at this time. Effort values can also be synced with Jira story points, if configured.
What comes next
If you're using drivers earlier in the prioritization process, you might have spotted trends as a result of sorting by drivers or prioritization scores.
It's easy to bulk-select the features and subfeatures with the highest scores before adding them all to a given objective, release, or status:
- Multi-select features and subfeatures using the checkbox that appears beside each feature's/subfeature's name. Select a whole list of features and subfeatures at once by selecting the first feature/subfeature then shift-selecting the last feature/subfeature.
- In the side pane (at right), update the objective, release, and status (or other fields) for all features and subfeatures at once.
If you've already defined objectives or releases representing what you'd like to work on next, you can use drivers to fine-tune the order in which you tackle these features and subfeatures.
Spot any interrelated or overlapping ideas that are part of some broader idea? You can merge them or add them as subfeatures beneath another feature.
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