What is the best way to prioritize a list of product features?

Clint Oram / November, 2017


Clint Oram, Co-Founder and CTO of SugarCRM explains a bottom-up and top-down method on how you should think about your product roadmap and how to prioritize the right features.

Video Transcript

What is the best way to prioritize a list of product features?

It’s going to come from a bottom-up process and a top-down process. The bottom-up process is collecting feedback from your customers and listening very closely to your customers. I often say there’s a reason why you have one mouth and two ears, to listen more than you speak. Listening to your customers is critical, it absolutely is. It’s going to help you refine your product.

Very rarely will you ever find the cause, if ever, where a customer gives you the idea of how to revolutionize an industry or your product. So this is where the top-down strategy comes into place. This is where you go through a thoughtful exercise with your leadership team of defining your vision mission, values, guiding principles.

This is something that we’ve adopted here at SugarCRM is a strategic planning process that started with creating a manifesto, a set of narrative, three paragraphs: what are we doing and why. That manifesto then translated into a company vision statement and into a company mission statement our company values, who are we, and why are we doing this and then our company strategies, where are we putting our energy and investment.

Then we start iterating on that strategic planning process across each of the department with each of those different strategic values. Really spending time during the top-down process of getting people on the same page and writing it down so that when you hire new people, they know what they’re doing. At that point, the filter of top-down strategic planning and bottoms-up requirements gathering is what your product management team does, of guiding you through a roadmap process. It’s actually very simple and straightforward, if you’ve done both, put the mechanism in place for gathering the bottoms-up feedback and put the effort into the top-down strategy.



Next Up

What kind of expertise does my team need to build a great hardware product?

What are the right questions to ask myself when building a product?

How do you know you’re building a product that people want?

How do you build products that customers love?

How should startups think about their mobile strategy?

Join the Startupedia Community

Connect with VCs and unlock vital startup advice!