How to prioritize features

prioritizing featuresPrioritizing features, user stories and epics is one of the main day to day duties of anybody doing product management. It’s important to have set up a proper way of prioritization so that’s your team is building the most valuable features for the users and the most beneficial features for the company. Here are a few methods of prioritizing features.

Assumption Testing
This is a quick and efficient way of prioritizing the highest/lowest risk items. The goal is to derisk what you’re doing by removing the riskiest assumptions through analyze, user testing, data. You start with what remains to be unknown by finding out what the biggest and the riskiest assumption is. You assign to every feature value on a scale 1-10 and Importance score 1-10. The sum of these two scores allows you to do the ranking and prioritization. The main idea is to try and derisk by implementation what can’t be derisked further by other means.

The BUC method
This prioritization method includes evaluating of the business benefits, the user benefits and the cost as the criteria to rank and prioritize features, user stories, epics, marketing activates. You assign value 1-10 to each metric and then you subtract the cost from the benefits (user+business combined). Afterwards you can prioritize the items based on the final score you got. The highest ranked items will go to the top. It’s pretty challenging to do accurate estimate here because often there’s not enough data available. However, this is a balanced method which takes both costs and ROI of the items into consideration.

The MOSCOW method
The MOSCOW acronym spells for Must, Could, Should and Would. You take all your items and consider worst case scenario for each one – what would happen if you won’t implement this or build that? When things would go really bad? Then you would have a list of things which absolutely should be done. And you call this Must have’s. And you go over the rest and sort them through as the things that you could, should, or would do. In the simplified version, this can include two characteristics – must have’s and nice to have’s.

To sum it up, it’s up to you as the product manager and the company which method of prioritizing to choose and to use. Sometimes the best way is to go forward in planning what to build next is just using data and your intuition. Taking the calculated risks can get you the great benefits.