Product Management: Making the Right Tradeoffs

Sales, Product Management

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If you’re a product manager, you get it: getting a group of people to decide among many options is inherently difficult. One approach is to put everyone in a single room and hash it out over a marathon session using spreadsheets, JIRA or PivotalTracker, and lots and lots of coffee. Despite best efforts, the feedback from these types of sessions is often unstructured, the discussion gets heated and people leave frustrated.

We think there’s a better way — one that doesn’t make you want to kill your co-worker over whether a particular features should be included in your roadmap.

Using Wizeline, product managers are able to collect structured feedback from teams, quantify this knowledge and communicate the results in a clear stack-ranked list for stakeholders to analyze.

It’s here where the inevitable horse-trading takes place. Since you can’t build it all, there are always tradeoffs. Again, Wizeline offers some transparency and structure.

You can assess the relative priority of each feature by individual team members, teams or even by level of certainty about a feature. This makes it easy to see competing priorities (i.e., what various teams want) and much easier to negotiate what actually makes it into an upcoming release. Without any screaming, headaches, or hair pulling…

Check out the example below. We decided to compare the features that our engineering team thought were most important for an upcoming release vs the features our sales team thought we should prioritize building.

As you can see, both teams had three of the same items in their top five priorities, although ranked differently. They only glaringly disagreed on two items — engineering thought “Alerts when a requested…” was a top priority (#2), while the sales team ranked that feature much lower (#9). On the other hand, sales ranked “Salesforce intelligence…” as a top priority at #3, while engineering ranked it as the lowest priority at #10.

Every product decision requires trade-offs. What I love about this view in Wizeline is that it helps you identify exactly what those tradeoffs are, and helps us get to the bottom of any misalignment in a fraction of the time. We simply review the output with our team, discuss any glaring issues, and negotiate what will make the release. We even find that if a certain team doesn’t get what they want, they still feel better about it because at least the decision was reached in a transparent way.

So, what are you waiting for? Put down your spreadsheets, let go over your coworker’s hair, and sign up for a free trial. 

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Luisa Posted by Luisa on Wednesday, July 23, 2014.

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Jun 28, 2017

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