I was recently working with a client who had deep domain expertise, but very little product management and SaaS experience, and this is fairly typical for the kinds of engagements I join where software development is outsourced.
They asked about questions they could share with their CEO in order to make sure they were aligned internally on what to build and why. When there is a lack of internal alignment, this can create additional churn and frustration for a development team and ultimately cost more money to build a solution.
I put together the following questions and resources to help define, refine, and evaluate new and existing software features and epics for them.
- High-level description of what? Why? For whom?
- Potential business gains?
- Consequences of not putting team attention here?
- Any strategic business/financial events/deadlines that impact when this work occurs?
- What are your competitors doing in this space and how will you differentiate?
- How does this align with your North Star/mission?
- What is the minimum viable or minimum lovable version of this work? How might you break this down into phases?
- Does this/how does this evolve your unique value or selling proposition?
- Consider completing a Value Proposition Canvas
- Desired outcomes/success metrics/Definition of Done
- How to make this equitable and accessible?
- Where might this inadvertently cause harm?
- Major milestones/deliverables
- Potential bottlenecks and points of failure
- Training or organizational change management considerations?
- Could consider:
- Documenting OKRs – Objectives and Key Results
- Prioritizing using MoSCoW method or Weighted Shortest Job First
- Jobs to Be Done
- Completing a Lean Canvas
- Budget for this work
- Any legal or regulatory components of this work that require significant lead time and research? Or any other complexities that require extensive cross-functional partnerships/collaborations?
- What’s out of scope?
- Key stakeholders list
This highlights that effectively all companies are now technology companies in one form or another and it benefits organizations across domains to develop their product mindsets.
How do you decide what your development teams should build? Need help in this space? Either way, I’d love to hear from you. Email Becca