If you’re a product owner, product manager, or even a CEO, you may often find yourself wrestling with the challenge of deciding what features or tasks to tackle next. It’s a familiar problem that can leave you feeling stuck. After all, there are always more things to build, but a limited time to make them happen. How do you choose the right things to prioritize next? And what prioritization questions should you be asking to gain clarity?
If that sounds all too familiar, then you’re in the right place. We’ve put together this bank of prioritization questions to help you gain greater clarity about what’s truly important for helping you reach your goals.
Try using these questions in a real-life prioritization meeting or even incorporating them into your existing prioritization framework or prioritization process to reach better business discussions and help your whole team feel more aligned.
Value creation prioritization questions
These prioritization questions are designed to help you have better conversations around what tasks, features, or work items will have the biggest impact on value creation.
- How confident are we that completing this task will lead to a positive ROI for the business?
- How long do we expect it to take us to see a positive ROI after completing this task?
- Is this the most important thing we could be working on now for generating revenue?
- How much value or benefit will completing this task bring to us or to users?
- What is the opportunity cost of prioritizing this task over others?
- Does this task have a high impact on revenue generation?
- What are the potential gains in efficiency by completing this task?
- What’s the lowest effort and highest value thing we could be working on?
- What’s the best and worst case scenario we could expect from prioritizing this task/feature?
- What are the key performance indicators (KPIs) we should be focusing on, and which features or improvements will have the most impact on these metrics?
Alignment prioritization questions
It’s important to make sure the things you prioritize are aligned with your larger team-wide, unit-wide, or company-wide goals. These questions help you interrogate that linkage so you can ensure your prioritized tasks are truly aligned with your mission or metrics.
- Does working on this task/feature help us achieve our strategic goals and objectives?
- Is this task in line with our team’s core competencies and expertise? Or would it be better completed by a different team with different expertise?
- To what extent is this task aligned with our long-term product vision?
- To what extent is this task aligned with the company’s mission and values?
- How does this task affect team morale and motivation?
- Is everyone aligned on the relative importance of this task/feature vs others?
- If we could only work on one task/feature, which one would be most aligned with our north star goals?
- How can we ensure that our development team is aligned with our prioritization decisions and understands the rationale behind them?
Practical prioritization questions
Good prioritization isn’t always about mapping tasks to metrics and creating maximum value – there’s a practical aspect too. These questions will help bring you down to earth and have a practical discussion about what you can truly commit to.
- Does deprioritizing this task/feature limit other work we can do?
- What’s the impact or risk of delaying work on this task/feature?
- What resources (time, budget, people) does this task require?
- Does this task have dependencies on other tasks or projects?
- What is the cost associated with completing this task?
- Is this task time-sensitive or related to a specific deadline?
- How does this task impact other ongoing projects or commitments?
- What is the level of effort required to complete this task?
- How does this task fit within our available budget?
- How will prioritizing this task impact our overall workload?
- Do we have enough resources to prioritize working on this task/feature now?
Risk management prioritization questions
Sometimes we have to prioritize tasks because there’s a risk associated with delaying it. Be that a legal risk, a security risk, or a risk of customer chun. These questions help you understand to what extent you should prioritize risk mitigation tasks.
- What are the consequences of not completing this task?
- Are there legal or compliance requirements associated with this task/feature that compel us to prioritize it?
- Are there external factors (market changes, competition) to consider that would cause us to prioritize or deprioritize this task?
- Can we quantify the risks and benefits using data or metrics?
- Does deprioritizing this task impact our product’s stability, infrastructure, or security?
- What is the level of technical debt in our product, and how does it affect our ability to deliver new features and maintain the existing ones?
- Are there non-feature-related initiatives, such as technical infrastructure improvements, that need to be prioritized alongside feature development?
- What are the risks associated with our prioritization decisions, and how can we mitigate them effectively?
Customer experience prioritization questions
The famous mantra “the customer comes first” is what you’ll want to consider with this set of customer-centric questions. There’s no use prioritizing something just because it makes you feel good. It has to benefit the customer too! Here are some questions to help you build a customer-first perspective into your prioritization efforts.
- What is the potential impact on customer retention and satisfaction for each feature or improvement under consideration?
- Who does this task primarily benefit? Customers or internal teams?
- Which features or improvements align with our target customer personas and segments, and how can we tailor our product to better serve them?
- How does this task contribute to customer satisfaction?
- Is this task aligned with our customers’ needs and expectations?
- Does this task support innovation or improve processes?
- Does this task have a high customer impact or visibility?
- What feedback have we received from stakeholders about this task/feature?
- What is the primary problem or pain point our product aims to solve, and how does this influence our feature prioritization?
Prioritize better with Parabol
Chances are if you’ve read this far, you might be thinking about running a prioritization exercise with your team. You can do that for free using Parabol. Try out our MoSCoW prioritization template or our RICE prioritization template.
Parabol guides you through a structured prioritization process. You can even pull in your tasks or feature ideas from Jira, GitHub, or GitLab to rank them, and export them back to your backlog afterwards.
Parabol is free to use for up to 2 teams.