In this ProductTank London talk, Ren Yi Hooi – then Product Director at RailsBank, shares her experience of prioritization challenges in a fast pace organisation.
Watch the video to see the talk in full, or read on for an overview of her key points:
- The challenges of prioritization in all stages of a product lifecycle
- Suggestions of how to overcome the main challenges of stakeholder communication & transparency of the product vision.
Ren Yi Hooi describes her experience at RailsBank, tripling in size in a short time frame, which presented several challenges to the product team.
In a startup there is often no defined roadmap and experiments are key to finding product market fit. A different set of challenges are presented at the scale-up phase when you’re trying to balance supporting a growing user base, whilst maintaining a lean development process to avoid bottlenecks.
Without a shared vision, stakeholders may challenge product decisions. Sales teams find it hard to meet user expectations, whilst support teams are confused about why new features are being prioritized over automating manual processes.
As a product manager it’s worth overcommunicating the longer term product vision to help stakeholders understand your prioritization decisions.
Impact vs. Effort & the added dimension of urgency
Product professionals are familiar with using impact vs. effort as a way to prioritize and create a roadmap. Considering factors such as the ROI, operational risks and relevance to the business strategy are all key when assessing impact. A third dimension, which shouldn’t be overlooked when prioritizing, especially in more regulated industries such as banking is that of urgency, due to deadlines being imposed which are beyond your control.
As well as creating a roadmap of high impact releases, you shouldn’t ignore user experience and delivering improvements which not only satisfy your user’s but also delight them.
Be outcome focused
All planned releases should be linked back to strategic goals and objectives. Understandably the development team will need more tangible detail in order to plan the technical approach, however it’s important to have a shared understanding of why the work is important in relation to the longer term vision.
Structuring teams for success
In a growing product organisation it’s useful to ensure product teams can gain context quickly. Ren Yi Hooi describes the process of creating multi disciplinary product squads, often including subject matter experts, who were empowered to make product decisions to allow them to execute efficiently.
Key takeaways from this talk
- Knowing how to communicate with a variety of stakeholders at different levels. Being able to articulate how your roadmap links to strategic objectives and at the same time diving into the detail when working closely with development and support teams is a worthwhile skill.
- Structure your teams for success. Give teams autonomy to develop and release whilst over communicating business goals to achieve strategic alignment.
- Be aware of external influences which may impact your roadmap such as regulatory changes out of your control.