Working with stakeholders is one of the most difficult tasks for all product managers. At the end of the day, they can make or break your product roadmap and strategy. Involving them in your decision-making early on can make the process much easier.
Product managers manage the “why” behind the product strategy. They make sure that the strategy is driven by data they can show for, but that’s not all. They also need to communicate that strategy across the entire organization and ensure it's aligned with the business mission.
When stakeholders are included in the decision-making process, they’re much more likely to accept priorities and get on board with the product features roadmap. This makes for a more efficient prioritization process for product managers.
So how can you include stakeholders in the product prioritization process?
🤔 Why do it?
Including stakeholders removes bias and individualism. It simply gets everyone on the same page. It also helps encourage team spirit because when stakeholders feel involved, it becomes much easier to get their buy-in for the planned scope/product roadmap.
Not only do stakeholders know what features to look forward to, but they also understand the why behind them.
🤓 How Foxly helps bring stakeholders together
Foxly and Priority planning poker will solve all kinds of meetings with various stakeholders:
- Planning meetings where priorities are being decided on by more than one person.
- Annual business planning meetings where executives prioritize initiatives and ideas.
- Backlog grooming sessions where product owners/product managers and their teams discuss stories.
- Sprint planning meetings where the scrum master, product owner and the team prioritize backlog items (stories, bugs and improvements).
- Requirements management planning meetings which include requirement managers, sales, executives, developers, the marketing team, and so on.
First things first - getting your stakeholders familiar with your prioritization process gives them confidence in you, and how you select your priorities.
Here are some of the most common prioritization frameworks you can use:
RICE prioritization framework
When including stakeholders in the process, the RICE framework is a good, simple prioritization method to use. it's one of the most popular among product managers.
RICE Score= Reach * Impact * Confidence * Effort
Weighted scoring - custom prioritization method
The weighted method is also great, stakeholders get to choose metrics that are specifically important to them, then add weights to those considered more important.
Here are some examples of metrics you can use: Development effort, Design effort, QA effort, Ease, Confidence, Sales impact, Customer impact, Support impact, Strategic impact, Legal requirement, Business risk, OKR alignment, Fun, Reach, Product area (or product component), Increases retention, Churn reduction, Urgency, and so on.
And here's an example of a weighted scoring formula = 3*Business risk + 1*OKR alignment + 2*Reach + 3*Development effort + 1*QA effort
The priority matrix helps visualize all priorities, and highlights the low-hanging fruits to tackle first. It also shows you the "time sinks" priorities, those with high effort and low impact that are better to avoid.
This X,Y chart is built using score or metric values. Split midway to define four quadrants with respective values for X and Y.
Create different prioritization sessions with different stakeholders
Create different Priority poker sessions for the same features, while choosing the metrics that are most relevant to the group joining the meeting.
If you’re going through the prioritization process with the delivery team, you’ll choose to look at Effort and Confidence.
- If you’re doing it with stakeholders, you can choose Impact and Reach.
- If you manage stakeholders from different company departments like Marketing, Sales, Support, IT, or Security, you can create an Impact metric for each of these departments to see how their opinions differ based on the task. Then simply average all these Impact metrics and use that as Total Impact in your prioritization.
- Add weights to the Impact metrics based on how important the opinion of these stakeholders is.
💡 Pro tip: For a large backlog, try breaking the process down into multiple meetings that run for an hour each. The attention tends to drop drastically after one hour.
People understand that though their tasks or the features they’re pushing for may have looked more important to them personally, what the team votes on is more important. People trust the voting process.
Once voting is finished, go to the Priority table in Foxly and order your list from highest to lowest, so you can plan the highest priority tasks for the next sprint, or move it to the roadmap.
🤔 Why is Foxly best for you?
Foxly helps you bring stakeholders together to decide on priorities and gamify your prioritization process. Priority planning poker saves you and your stakeholders time and creates a structure for constructive discussion. 👋 Say bye to endless and frustrating meetings.