Importance of prioritization in product development

Product development is a challenge for even the most innovative companies because of the wide range of available ideas and resources to choose from, all requiring varying degrees of investment and support. It’s important to note that product prioritization is different from project prioritization, but the two are not mutually exclusive. 

You can have new projects or programs in which you want to prioritize your limited resources among multiple things. However, when it comes to actually selecting one thing over another to develop into an actual product, you’re talking about product prioritization.

Software developers are often required to prioritize user stories, features of a product backlog, during the development cycle. The prioritization is critical not only for minimizing risk but also to maximize ROI. It helps in making data-driven decisions which are sustainable over time. As marketing needs evolve, companies can use their traditional product management tools to quickly adjust priorities based on new data and market conditions.

Prioritization techniques categorize requirements into several categories like: High (must), Medium (should/have), Low (nice-to-have).

They help companies in creating an order in which they should address issues that need attention and resources; this provides guidance for what we need to do next and when we should do it.

One way for companies to be more effective in providing valuable products that align with both their core business and customers is to prioritize their product features. 

Product managers work with marketing, sales, and engineering teams to determine the right mix of features for a new product launch or update. Managing these trade-offs effectively can be one of the most important aspects of the job of a product manager.

Rice Framework

The rice framework is an approach which enables businesses to create and enhance products by determining what matters most to customers and aligning those insights with business goals. The rice framework categorizes customer feedback into three types: white rice, brown rice, and wild rice — each representing increasing levels of importance — so that companies can understand how likely they are to be acted upon as part of a given release cycle.

The rice framework is the combination of product development and customer support approaches. To make rice, rice can be white rice, brown rice or wild rice. Rice that only contains one ingredient will be white rice; if it contains both rice and beans, then it will be brown rice; If there are more ingredients than that, it would be wild rice. Similarly, in the The Rice Framework , the three types of feedback are divided into White Rice(W), Brown Rice(B)and Wild Rice(R).

Rice product management is a method that allows you to prioritize your product backlog based on business value and risk.

The rice framework is a method that allows you to prioritize your product backlog based on business value and risk. The three types of feedback are divided into White Rice(W), Brown Rice (B)and Wild Rice (R). This framework provides an approach for communication between the customer and developer while allowing stakeholders to make informed decisions about what features require modifications or enhancements.

The core idea behind the rice framework is:

We want changing requirements in either way, but we want it early and small enough to avoid significant cost and re-design. Therefore, our communication should follow this order:

  • 1st talk about the feature with just a few sentences; if we get valuable feedback that can be resolved easily then do it right away; if the requirement is not clear to us then ask questions about it; if we get “no” or other unclear feedback then ask for more details.
  • 2nd talk over the scope of the feature so that we can estimate development’s effort and its influence on all other features in the product backlog.
  • 3rd only after the detailed requirements are defined, estimate how much cost it will take to implement that feature.
  • 4th then prioritize how important this feature is versus other features in the product backlog with respect to ROI (Return On Investment).
  • 5th finally make decisions whether it should be implemented or not among all stakeholders (customer, developer, stakeholder).


Thus prioritization is the most important part in any development engagement, because it helps in making data-driven decisions.

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