Simple and effective, a prioritized backlog can save your budget!
The general concept for a prioritized backlog is to write all of your ideas down and go back through them periodically to rank the new ones against the older ideas. That’s it! At the beginning of the process, ideas are just ideas. Inert and harmless, they didn’t cost you anything. As you move further along from seedling to completion your cost goes up incrementally. In a loose order, someone has to vet that idea at the water cooler, sell it internally, flesh it out, determine its scope, write user stories, decide what it will look like, determine proper architecture, choose the right platform, wireframe it, design it, tweak it, re-design, and get approvals from all of your stakeholders. All of that investment is done before writing the first line of code! So be certain that you’re always implementing the most important and effective features, always.
Here’s how to curate a product backlog for website development queues:
-Write all of your (and everyone else’s) ideas for the website down (an excel spreadsheet will work in a pinch).
-Continually prioritize them against one another in terms of effort and benefit (create two more columns with T-shirt sizes for both LOE and benefit: XS, S, M, L, XL). Based off of those two columns, create a third column with a resulting numerical value 1-10.
-Prep (do all the “loose order” work above) *only* for items at the top of the list, that you have budget for, and that you have time to adequately prep.
-Don’t start development on a feature until you have all of the deliverables in hand (any designs, specs, or direction the developers need). This way broken promises for deliverables don’t add costly bloat through stopping and starting. In this sense, website development is like baking. Don’t put anything in the oven until all of the ingredients are carefully measured.
Lastly, if the item never makes it to the top of your priority list, you never have to pay for it. There simply wasn’t a strong enough business case to warrant the effort.