BACER – Product Prioritisation Framework for B2B products

BACERpronounced as बसर in Hindi means “Vision”

How to decide what to work on first?

This is a common challenge I have seen across product teams when building a roadmap at companies, both large and small. If the product team has put in effort into finding new opportunities and understanding customer feedback, there will be lot of good ideas and they just need to dedicate time to prioritise (!= one day offsite work).

It’s a difficult problem to solve!

The product managers are tempting to work on pet ideas instead of opportunities with high adoption. It’s also tempting to work on new high tech stuff (which usually leads to discounting the additional effort required) instead of things that directly impact your goals. It’s easy to get trapped into low confidence ideas and not focus on things you are more sure about.

This is where a Prioritisation score can help.

A good scoring framework will help the team balance costs and benefits by considering each factor for all ideas with discipline and consistently. Prioritisation Score is calculated to arrive at an objective result.

In B2B business, there is never a single persona for whom you are developing the product. Following are the multiple personas,

  1. User Persona — the one who uses your product majorly
  2. Buyer’s Persona — the one who makes buying decision in an organisation. In a majority of the B2B use case, the user might not be making the buying decisions
  3. Internal Persona — sometimes you have to invest in solving problems of your development team which would help them to release new features faster
  4. Sales Team Persona — sometimes you need to think of solutions which could help your sales team to sell your product quickly.

While prioritising a solution, always make sure it fits well across all the persona mentioned above.

In my view, inputs to the framework will generally come from :

  1. Customer Survey/Research
  2. Solution Engineers
  3. Solution Partners
  4. Technical Account Managers
  5. Support Tickets

In consultation with :

  1. Marketing
  2. Engineering
  3. Design
  4. Product Managers

After lot of iterations, we finally settled for the following prioritisation framework for B2B products :

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Scoring : 1 to 9 (lowest to highest)

Business Impact (B) : How much the feature will affect business in terms of Revenue(New sales/deals) and customer retention?

Customer Adoption (A) : How much and how frequently is the problem extended across our customers and how many will adopt this feature?

Customer Value (C) : How much value (e.g. efficiencies in terms of cost or time saving etc) will it generate for our customer? How significant is the pain for our customer?

Effort (E) : How much engineering effort is required to develop the product (in Person Weeks) normalised as per the scale?

Probability of desired Result (R) : What is the probability of achieving our objectives with this feature?

BACER Score (S) is calculated as,

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Priority Rank (CR) : Feature priority rank from 1 to n based on Score(S) (Highest to Lowest score)

Generally, if a product is in growth phase, then the focus should be on features/problems that can accelerate customer acquisition.

In scaled business phase, we should concentrate on features/problems that retains the customers and reduces the churn.

This is an iterative process and it might take a while to get good at this exercise however I strongly suggest all product managers to adopt product prioritisation scoring framework.

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Feel free to download an XLS version

Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.

[About the author: Rahul Malik is the Group Product Manager for Server and Data Center at Atlassian. He focuses on creating products for large enterprises to enhance the user’s productivity. He has 15+ years of experience across US and India in building products and product teams.]

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