Product Definition and Requirements Prioritization

Once we’ve got a good picture of list of potential use cases a product should go-to-market with, I’ve used Anthony Ulwick’s Outcome-driven Innovation framework to help with the Product Definition and Requirements Prioritization:

  • Visualizing the impact of user experience of any given use case based on its opportunity score;
  • Helping in the decision making process by providing a better sense of priorities;

This approach was used in 2 (two) projects I’ve managed: AutoCAD Map3D and AutoCAD Utility Design.

Outcome-driven Innovation

Outcome-Driven Innovation (ODI) is a strategy and innovation process built around the theory that people buy products and services to get jobs done. It links a company’s value creation activities to customer-defined metrics. Ulwick found that previous innovation practices were ineffective because they were incomplete, overlapping, or unnecessary.

Outcome-Driven Innovation® (ODI) is a strategy and innovation process that enables a company to create and market winning product and service offerings with a success rate that is 5-times the industry average

Anthony Ulwick

Clayton Christensen credits Ulwick and Richard Pedi of Gage Foods with the way of thinking about market structure used in the chapter “What Products Will Customers Want to Buy?” in his Innovator’s Solution and called “jobs to be done” or “outcomes that customers are seeking”.

Use Cases List: Pugh Matrix

Based on the work of Jon Innes and James McElroy, I’ve created Use Cases Lists (or Pugh Matrix), which is decision matrix to help evaluate and prioritize a list of options. I’ve worked with Product Management and Software Architecture teams in both AutoCAD Map3D and AutoCAD Utility Design projects to first establish a list of weighted criteria, and then evaluates each use case against those criteria, trying to take the input from the different stakeholders of the team into account (user experience, business values, etc).

Using the Outcome-driven Innovation Framework above, you can prioritize the Use Cases based on their Opportunities Scores.

Opportunity Scores

Ulwick’s “opportunity algorithm” measures and ranks innovation opportunities. Standard gap analysis looks at the simple difference between importance and satisfaction metrics; Ulwick’s formula gives twice as much weight to importance as to satisfaction, where importance and satisfaction are the proportion of high survey responses.

You’re probably asking yourself “where these values come from?” That’s where User Research comes in handy: once you’ve got the List of Use Cases, you go back to your users and probe on how important each use case is, and how satisfied with the product they are with regards to each use case.

Once you’ve obtained the opportunity scores for each use case, what comes next? There are two complementary pieces of information that the scores reveal: where the market is underserved and where the it is overserved. We can use this information to make some important targeting and resource-related decisions.

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