Can the process of prioritizing a product backlog be easy and agreeable? I guess every product manager dreams about it.
How to optimize prioritization and be able to persuade stakeholders of the validity of a pre-prioritised backlog? After all, how to drive consensus?
Derek Morrison from allaboutproductmanagement.blogspot.com shared his own strategy on how to use a special process to not only prioritize the product backlog but to aid in building unity among stakeholders and win their confidence and trust. The following points represent his process:
- We agreed on the goal for the next quarter (to build our user base as opposed to driving revenue.)
- We went through the backlog and as a group agreed on the category of every item: user engagement, revenue, audience, acquisition, and so on.
- By common consent, a champion was assigned to represent each backlog item (there were Heads of marketing, Head of Product, Ad Operations, techs, Team Lead and the MD/General Manager of the business unit).
- The champion would then give an elevator pitch on the importance of their backlog item followed by a brief Q&A cum discussion.
- We would then vote on how the item would best fulfill the goal we all agreed on. Each score is then entered into the spreadsheet.
- When we get to the end of the backlog click ‘sort’ and hey presto we have a prioritized backlog.
What happened? Everyone participated, there was total transparency and all meeting members bought into the goal for the coming quarter.
The author summarized that the quality of the prioritization is directly related to the product manager’s ability to keep everyone on track and focus on the agreed goal.