Creating products in a sea of requests, backlogs, and priorities

It is no secret that product teams encounter numerous unexpected or unforeseen challenges while planning out and creating products. They may even find themselves drowning in an endless sea of tasks that hinder overall progress.

A few weeks ago, I asked the product management community on Quora to identify some of the toughest stages of development.

Note: This is the second part of my blog post on this topic. You can view the first part here.

Here are a few more of their insights:

creating productsPeter Scharnell, Software Product Manager: As an agile product manager, for me the Product Planning stage and more specifically, backlog estimation is the most challenging. Having enough detail to get good estimates from engineering but not too much detail that you are down in the weeds, is at times a challenge. This is why planning several backlog grooming sessions is extremely helpful in order to get realistic and accurate estimates from engineering. And then you have the fun story point vs. actual time estimate debate, which is always a treat. 🙂

Karol M McCloskey, Product Professional: When I performed the launch manager role I found most difficulties came about during beta testing and early release cycles. That’s when the rubber truly hits the road and could be the first time customers have had a chance to look at/use the product. Managing customer expectations after the fact is very hard.

Shankar Bharathan, 10+ years as Enterprise Software Product Manager: Though this is not really part of the product development cycle, but a phase preceding it, I would still rate ‘Feature prioritization’ as the most difficult and critical stage. You have a whole list of things to do, all of them equally important (as per your customers, sales team, consulting, dev. teams and as defined by certain org. approaches). A product manager has to carefully weigh these priorities along with the available person days and choose a few. This can get very tricky, dicey and difficult (especially when you have to cut off a few owing to person days constraints).

I invite you all to share your own thoughts on this topic. Click here to engage with like-minded product professionals on Quora or alternatively leave a comment below.

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