Why You Should Let Customers Prioritize Your Backlog

first_imgScrum Inc. consultant and Team WIKISPEED CEO Joe Justice breaks down the benefits of having your customers prioritize your product backlog by telling you exactly what it is they want to see delivered.How do you ship to your customers faster and deliver a better product you know they will love? Simple. Get them directly involved early in the process.At any point, you might have 100 (or more) “to-do’s” in your product backlog that represent features your organization thinks your customers might want. But as Scrum Inc. consultant and Team WIKISPEED founder and CEO Joe Justice explains, the best companies don’t let assumptions drive their product development. Instead, they prioritize based on something much more substantial and important — actual feedback from their customers.Inviting Customers into the Product Development ProcessPointing to the development process at Team WIKISPEED as an example, Justice explains the company will sometimes invite customers to come view its prototypes early on and provide feedback on what features they’d really like to see. “That’s really exciting,” Justice admits. “We invite them in and say, ‘What’s most important to you? What’s most useful for your personal or business use?’ We can then prioritize (those things) and ship a lot faster than if we tried to work on all of the 100 things in our backlog.”Key TakeawaysIdentify the Minimum Features that Will Lead to a Purchase One of the biggest benefits of seeking customer input on your product backlog is that it allows you to better understand the core features that need to be built to close sales.“The goal here is to identify the least amount of things we need to do to have (a customer) sign a contract and buy our product,” Justice explains. “It’s usually a very different list than the one we created internally.”Weigh Customer Wants against Your CapabilitiesOf course, Justice isn’t suggesting that companies should bend over backwards to build everything their customers want, even if those things aren’t financially or architecturally feasible.“You need to meter [customer needs] with technical dependency,” Justice explains. “Look at what the customer requested and say, ‘What does this infer? Do we need to iterate our architecture to support this in a sustainable way? Do we need to have other technical work done behind the scenes to make this happen?’”If you do have the capability and capacity to build the things customers want most, then Justice says it will be easier to prioritize your backlog and build durable, lasting solutions that consistently delight customers.More Insights for Optimizing Product Development Mastering the Art of Doing Less: How to Maximize Product Development Looking to focus in on the absolute priorities and ship better products faster? Scrum Inc. consultant Joe Justice shares a story from his work with Team WIKISPEED that serves as the perfect example of what’s possible when you get lean and creative with your product development. Read more. Setting SaaS Priorities: Establishing a Clear Line-of-Sight to Revenue Unlike product-based businesses, it can be difficult to track the impact that every activity or investment has on a SaaS company’s bottom line. AtTask CTO Ted Hoy explains how his team does it. Read more.Do you agree with Joe? Should software companies invite customers to prioritize product backlogs?Newsletter signup bottomPhoto by: Pieter OuwerkerkAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to PrintPrintShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThislast_img

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