Which framework should a product manager follow?

Individual prioritization decisions can be significantly aided by having a framework for prioritization. A framework consists of:

  1. Themes for your product or business: These are the high-level areas you should invest in to grow your business. Themes could include expanding the customer base, increasing conversion, increasing retention, improving performance, and expanding internationally. Individual projects do not constitute themes. Articles should be few, prioritized, and have some context indicating how you should balance your effort across themes.
  2. Baseline quality, design, usability, performance, or other defensive measures that may not be at the top of your offensive themes but must be maintained at some level.


  1. Once you’ve established your framework (baselines and themes), you can devote a portion of your resources to the meeting (but not exceeding) of your baselines and the remainder to your articles. If you put in much extra effort above and beyond your baselines for defensive measures, you may not be investing enough in your offensive themes. You’re not adequately staffed if you don’t have enough resources after meeting your defensive baselines. You can use either staff up or lower your defensive baselines.

  2. You can prioritize offensive and defensive projects independently if you can time-box your resources appropriately (e.g., devoting n engineers to defensive areas on a rotating basis). It is like balancing offensive vs. defensive tasks (e.g., bugs) on a case-by-case basis.