How do you prioritize features/products/initiatives/etc?

I was recently in a conversation where it was implied I should be using estimated dollar figures to prioritize which new features should be getting worked on. I’m a bit unsure what method/process could be used to create such a figure that would stand up to the various changes from initially pushing the idea through the pipeline to actual launch. Would love to hear your thoughts.

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I hope this isn’t too hand in the air. But I try to simplify my objective then design what is needed to make it a reality. So here’s a flow:
  1. Whiteboard time: write in easy to grasp terms the objective, user details and design.
  2. Share my idea with peers that understand my domain; get feedback.
  3. Think about timeline and effort to deliver my initial design with feedback incorporated.
  4. Break out work into something semi-manageable.
  5. Review details and plan with engineering and product peers to discuss then plan and validate my idea and ability to execute it.
  6. Repeat 4 and 5 if needed.
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I'm personally not a fan of this approach, but ProductPlan has a good writeup on the topic: [[Buy-a-Feature](https://www.productplan.com/glossary/buy-a-feature/)]

I think it is a useful exercise to illustrate the limitations of a delivery organization, but ultimately is an incredibly subjective way to measure solution size and stakeholder sentiment.

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Don't. Focus on prioritizing outcomes, not 'features.'

You do this by first focusing on what your objectives are. Potential initiatives then need to rank against those objectives - if you have none, then you know what to discard.
In regards to then deciding what can give you the biggest impact against that desired outcome, you might try one of two things:

  1. Opportunity Solution Trees: Visualize Your Thinking - Product Talk %.
  2. Run a cost of delay analysis

This should help you factor in what your goal is vs the impact of working on an initiative against that goal. Stay away from prioritization frameworks at this level. Frameworks are primarily output focused and assume you have already run discovery. Unless you have, they will serve you no purpose than just playing a guessing game.

This article may also be helpful.

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There are many ways to prioritize. Ultimately they come down to evaluating the value to the customer and to the business.

It’s possible the estimated dollar part of this may be related to someone wanting to quantify the possible impact of a change on the business. That can certainly be an input into the decisions you make about your product. In tools like Productboard (full disclosure: I work there) you can tie in your opportunities from tools like Salesforce and use that to get insight into this. Then you can answer questions like:

  1. What is the $$$ opportunity value behind individual feature ideas?
  2. How much revenue have we lost due to a specific product gap?
  3. What are the feature candidates which are contributing the most to lost opportunities?

There are certainly more inputs that just the $$$$ but this alongside other factors can be hugely helpful.