Why I don’t believe in ‘Idea Backlogs’

idea backlogs are worth nothing

Hello and Happy New Year (just in case we haven’t seen each other yet in 2017). I hope you enjoyed the holidays and have been able to take some time off to recharge for whatever is next on your agenda.

Especially the beginning of the year we find ourselves in the middle of quarterly or even yearly planning discussions regarding which product initiatives to tackle next.
Often, the few items which find a slot on the short term roadmap are the essence of a so-called ‘long list’ of ideas. But what happens with all the other brainstormed output? They get thrown into a so-called ‘idea backlog,’ right next to that great idea you had last year and tried to bring into development. Especially when it has been a close call regarding prioritization, it feels like a good excuse for all participants to not entirely dismiss an idea but to ‘save it for later.’

Let me tell you what: Don’t do that. If an idea is just not good enough to outperform ‘competitors’ in the very moment and is so unbelievably full of value for you and your key stakeholders that you immediately want to dedicate your best resources to it right now. It won’t be any better the next time you revisit that list of broken dreams in your excel file.
Instead, I highly recommend making a clear cut below the very top product ideas which find their ways into execution and just start a new ideation process from a blank sheet the next time a roadmap slot is up for discussion.
And if an idea is truly so good that it’ll appear again and again on your lists, it’ll find its way into production mode when the time is right. Trust me.

Let me give you another example of this way of thinking: I  did the same thing when 2016 ended with all my blog post ideas and ‘books to read’ resolutions. When they were just not that good that I wanted to immediately sit down and dedicate writing or reading time to them which I otherwise probably would have spent working out or watching YouTube, I deleted them. No more drafts and plans to ‘read this book very soon.’
When a topic or book is really relevant to me, it’ll somehow resurface somewhere to me and will then get tackled.

What’s in your (personal or work-related) idea backlog? And how long have some of those items been in there? See, just kick them out and just execute on the next things which are driving you for real.

This article appeared first on my e-mail list for product people, UX designers, and entrepreneurs.