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16 Comments

How do you prioritize your feature requests/backlog?

Good morning (from Chicago) IH family!

I'm curious how others are organizing their backlog/feature requests? I am currently using the Roadmap template in Notion to do this for ProductiveRecruit.com and love it a lot as I can prioritize stories and tasks and even group stories into epics. I have been adding user story bullets to relevant tasks.

How do you organize your backlog? How do you know what to work on next?

Oh btw, if you're into the whole watching people build in public thing - you can follow me along on Twitter: https://twitter.com/colin_mcatee

  1. 4

    We use the prioritize feature from Acute.

    1. 1

      This tool looks great

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      Woah never seen acute before, I love how companies are going for the embeddable widget solution over having to create a subdomain to host their page at.

  2. 4

    We do not have a backlog. We have adopted Shape Up (from Basecamp), which was quite close to what we were doing before. We work in cycles and before each cycle we bet on what is called pitches. Prepared (shaped) ideas, that stakeholders put together. It is everyone's responsibility to "sell" it to the rest of the people at the betting table. If it won't get in this time, it might need more work and presented next time, or it can be dismissed.

    Who is then placing bets: customer success (customers voice), product owner (product voice), dev lead (technical voice).

    Must admit, this was very freeing, not having a product backlog. Initially I thought that we would loose some very valuable feedback, or that some great ideas will get lost, but if they weren't great, they would sink in the backlog anyway, and just stayed there and piled up. The great ideas or issues are never forgotten, they always bubble up. :)

    No backlogs
    Backlogs are a big weight we don’t need to carry. Dozens and eventually hundreds of tasks pile up that we all know we’ll never have time for. The growing pile gives us a feeling like we’re always behind even though we’re not. Just because somebody thought some idea was important a quarter ago doesn’t mean we need to keep looking at it again and again.

    Backlogs are big time wasters too. The time spent constantly reviewing, grooming and organizing old ideas prevents everyone from moving forward on the timely projects that really matter right now.
    https://basecamp.com/shapeup/2.1-chapter-07

    This is how a pitch might look like: https://basecamp.com/shapeup/1.5-chapter-06

    1. 1

      This is a very cool approach! May look into this as it can definitely get overwhelming to have one backlog. I do know what to focus on now since I’m a team of one though so this may be overkill for me.

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        I follow shape up method even on my side-projects. I write pitches (for myself) and betting against myself. :) It is great to have some thinking process about it, etc... before starting to build.

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      Thank you for sharing this. I read part of the chapter. I've bookmarked the site for later reading.

  3. 2

    Concretely speaking: for my solo project I have a big Someday/Maybe list that is the place I throw ideas I have that I don't want to lose. Every item in that list is tagged Bug, Feature, or Marketing. But I don't often look at this list since it can be overwhelming — mostly I keep a prioritized roadmap of the next few things in my head.

    Since my business is just beginning, my priorities are based primarily on the needs of one specific high-value customer. I build features for him that I'm confident others will need. Once he is satisfied, the product will become a lot more mature and then I can focus more on marketing and getting more users.

    Additionally, my capacity is very limited right now so I really don't want to be in the stressful position of having a lot of users wanting features and not being able to help them. Or god forbid, run into technical scaling issues.

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      Smart! As you’re finding product market fit I’ve found it valuable to listen to what my customers want and build what seems to be the most helpful for the rest of them too. This is how I’ve been deciding on what features to build.

  4. 2

    Good morning!☀️
    We used to integrate ducalis.io with Jira within our team, RICE Framework: https://hello.ducalis.io/prioritization-sticky-notes/rice
    Worked on the multiple products simultaneously. Every iteration our CEO/Project/Product managers were assigning points to each task from backlog and calculated what happened next.
    Even if you won't use Ducalis itself, I recommend you to get familiar with existing frameworks and ideas here: https://hello.ducalis.io/prioritization-ideas/all

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      Yeah since I’m a team of one I’m fine with just a simple notion board, but nonetheless I love RICE. Thanks for sharing that! I feel like I do some of these things subconsciously sometimes.

  5. 2

    We don't have a roadmap at all that describes what we want to do in X days/weeks. We follow one vision and come up with ideas.

    From there, we have a standard Backlog/To-Do/In Progress/Done board in Notion. Every idea lands in Backlog. Based on the priority, we will work out the details for an idea and move it to To-Do. From there, everyone can pick up what they want to work on.

    Regarding prioritizing, we adapted the DIE idea that Baremetrics founder Josh Pigford posted about in 2018: Demand + Impact - Effort gives us a score that we use as a baseline to prioritize features.

    I've written a more in-depth article about how we build Maxout. You might find that interesting: https://getmaxout.app/blog/building-maxout/

  6. 1

    Ours is a big team, and they always know what to deliver next and everything they should focus on. Don’t think, it happened overnight. Earlier, we used to always have open-ended lists with zero idea of how we can structure and organize the backlog to get our team, work on various tasks, in order of their importance.

    We started using ProProfs Project(https://www.proprofs.com/project/). The tool gives us various types of project views, including list view, calendar view, Gantt chart, kanban board, to have a clear visualization of various projects and tasks. Having everything in front of us, we can organize backlogs by category, plan work, and assign the best resources to get things done.

    Amongst all the views, I extensively use kanban boards. It enables me to pull top priority tasks first and ensure that nothing is piling up in our to-do list.

    Suppose we are not getting the desired results, or we don’t like a particular workflow. In that case, we can easily make changes in terms of processes, timelines, and assigned team members, to create a more efficient workflow.

  7. 1

    I have a public roadmap that is roughly and intuitively ordered by a combination of criteria like feasibility, what impacts most the current goal, need, user feedback etc

    Then when I wake up I pick something from there or not :) Sometimes I feel like it's a day for marketing, communication, organization, reading, writing etc, and not a day for implementing.

  8. 1

    I've been using surveys using Survey Monkey's free tier. I sent surveys to about 2,000 users in two different blocks of 1k. I sent it to 1k first and then revised my survey based on what I learned. I figured out that I was missing questions, some of the answers were unclear, I needed to ask a couple of additional questions, etc. I've revised my plans based on the feedback I got.

    Some of it is also a gut feel. For example, I read that color modes are popular and then I saw a couple of reviews asking for dark mode. So I made adding dark mode and a switch between light/dark mode to the app. I'd love to do a full-color mode (a color wheel) but I can't afford to do it right now. I also noticed that we have some users that add over 100+ Bluetooth devices to Signils, so I'm looking at adding a 3 and 4 column view to Premium.

    It's just me and I don't see the need for a rigorous product management process, user stories, or more formalization.

  9. 1

    In my day job where there is a huge team plus stakeholders and directors involved, we have fortnightly meetings and work around the concept of impact vs effort.

    In SongBox and my other projects where I'm the only person involved I just keep it all in my head and I know roughly what I should do next based on the same principles of impact vs effort.

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