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Use a Product Value Matrix to Prioritize Your Roadmap

Turn your feature backlog into an actionable matrix of prioritized initiatives using these three frameworks:

  1. Value-complexity matrix
  2. Value-risk matrix
  3. Agile user story mapping


Business “value” depends on strategic objectives: a feature's usefulness for customers, employees, or suppliers; its ability to generate revenue, traffic, or publicity; positive impact on product performance, security, and reliability.

Implementation “complexity” encompasses the time it takes to implement, the technical challenge, and development cost.

  • High-value, low-complexity: “Easy wins” that should be considered for your roadmap—but not at the expense of high-value, high-complexity features.
  • High-value, high-complexity: Larger strategic initiatives that require effort and time but pay enormous dividends. If possible, break these down into less complex tasks.
  • Low-value, low-complexity: Might or might not be worth your time. Revisit these features later and consider approaches to make them of higher value.
  • Low-value, high-complexity: Items that should be prioritized.


Useful for addressing uncertainty about underlying assumptions: how long a feature might take to complete, how much it might cost, your team's ability to execute, or how much executive support a project might receive.

  • High-value, low-risk: Items that should be prioritized.
  • High-value, high-risk: May have greater product impact than high-value, low-risk items, but you risk wasting time on features you don't use. Understand your team's risk tolerance and use careful judgment.
  • Low-value, low-risk: Might be worth your time eventually, but should be prioritized below high-value features.
  • Low-value, high-risk: Items that should be avoided.


A story map is a matrix that organizes user stories: the X-axis is the chronological sequence of actions taken as users interact with your product; the Y-axis shows how important each story is to the overall experience.

  • List out user stories. High-level descriptions of a user's requirements.
  • Define your usage sequence. For an online storefront, this might include “searching for a product,” “product page,” and “checkout screen.”
  • Add necessity criteria. We use the MoSCoW method: Must, Should, Could, and Won't Have.

For each stage of the usage sequence, identify “must-have” features. Together, these features create an MVP that allows users to progress through the entire usage sequence. Releases should include an evenly distributed mixture of stories from each stage in the usage sequence.

Summarized by Reforge. Original article by Louisa Henry• Director of Product Specialists @ Airtable