“That was the thing about the world: it wasn't that things were harder than you thought they were going to be, it was that they were hard in ways that you didn't expect.” ― Lev Grossman, The Magician King
When looking at creating a roadmap, they are many dimensions that need to be accounted for. It is very challenging to prioritise the possible developments from many different angles.
What is it? Is it a bug, feature, enhancement or an entirely new product?
What’s the ROI (Return on Investment)? To calculate this you need to not only estimate the development time (which is a challenge in itself without a detailed specification) but also work out the potential return. And is the return related to a decrease in support time or an increase in sales or simply better branding?
“Out of clutter, find simplicity.” ― Albert Einstein
So how do we go about deciding on which development to do first? Is it the quick bug fixes for current customers or the new product developments with larger returns and aimed at a new audience.
We are great believers in the Pareto rule.
“The Pareto principle is a principle, named after economist Vilfredo Pareto, that specifies an unequal relationship between inputs and outputs. The principle states that, for many phenomena, 20% of invested input is responsible for 80% of the results obtained.”
And hence we looked internally at Innovation Dojo where we have already defined an excellent prioritisation system.
Our two dimensions of prioritisation for Innovation Dojo are implementation and priority.
Implementation - this is made up in turn of three keys areas:
- Time - how long will it take?
- Resource - how many people will it take?
- Investment - how much will it cost?
Priority - this is also made up of three key areas:
- Urgency - Is this a pressing issue?
- Importance - Where does this sit with respect to our business strategy?
- Financial opportunity - A difficult area to assess although if you break it down it becomes quite simple.
“Divide each difficulty into as many parts as is feasible and necessary to resolve it.”
― René Descartes, Discourse on Method
We look at the financial opportunity opportunity from many angles: Reduction in the support and future development times, customer retention and growth, new opportunities and many others.
The great thing about breaking down the analysis into the constituent parts is that (hopefully) the instability is worked out of the system.
How can you breakdown the analysis into parts?
Category Dojo is a perfect example of this. This is a tool, which in its basic form, helps procurement professionals prioritise their categories. Now, this is also a task that all teams do as a matter of fact. However how do you robustly determine the procurement opportunities between 2 categories which are quite similar, yet managed by different people.
Category Dojo breaks down the complexity of each category through a simple set of questions that allow the differences to come to the forefront through empirical calculations. Any particular reply which may not be quite in line with the general trend should be dampened out by the other replies. The more questions you ask, the more stable the result, although there is obviously a tradeoff with usability.
This was the joy of using our Innovation Dojo methodology. A 1-5 scoring system is used for each of the 6 axes and then it is a simple method of combining them to give the top priorities. It has worked out so well we encourage others to try out this methodology and see what you think. After entering all the data, the results just popped out and we are glad to say made a lot of sense!
And you can read more about Innovation Dojo here.