Use drivers and prioritization scores

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Note: The Starter and Essentials plans come 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: 

Relevant to Legacy boards only

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.

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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
  • Usability
  • Performance
  • Compliance
  • Platform Reliability
  • Security
  • 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.

  • Closing new business
  • Retention/expansion for existing customers
  • Supporting third-party partners
  • Supporting internal customers

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. You can think of drivers as the voice of the product team, while objectives are the voice of the business. 

Adding a driver to a features board

Like all column types, you can show/hide drivers using the AddColumnButton.svg Add columns button.

Click on Drivers & Scores, then toggle on individual drivers.

To add new drivers, select Create field.

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How drivers are calculated at the component and product levels

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 component.

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

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Prioritization scores incorporate two or more drivers together into a single value. You can create a prioritization score the same way you create a driver, by clicking Create field at the bottom of the Drivers & Scores sidebar and selecting Prioritization score.

Each score has a list of your drivers. Use the sliders to indicate how much weight a given driver should have toward the score's total value. You can even create multiple prioritization scores, each factoring in different drivers with varying weights!

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Keep the following in mind while building prioritization scores:

  • 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 possible to incorporate objectives into prioritization scores.

Dividing your prioritization score by effort

Optionally, check the Divide score by effort box to divide your prioritization scores by the estimated development effort. This field can be edited to your board from AddColumnButton.svg Add column > Default fields > Effort. 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 sidebar (at right), update the objective, release, and status (or other fields) for all features and subfeatures at once.

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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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