How Are Feature Priorities Set Internally at WooCommerce

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In an AMA (ask me anything) that I had with Allen Smith, Developer Advocate at WooCommerce, someone inquired about the process of what features get prioritized with WooCommerce releases.

Different Ways in Different Parts of the Company

There really isn’t a straightforward answer for how they’re set because they’re set in different ways in different parts of WooCommerce. For context, Allen works in a part of Automattic that is focused on the Woo platform itself, so he’s a member of a team focused on the developer experience. They interact with other teams to make sure that they have what they need in terms of tooling and things like that, and his job specifically is to work with external developers to make sure that they have those things as well.

Setting Priorities

When WooCommerce teams set priorities, there’s a number of different ways that they do it. There is an ideas board, which anyone can access at ideas.WooCommerce.com. Some teams pull ideas from that, other teams don’t view it as frequently. But that is one area that they do pull feature requests from. Oftentimes in the WooCommerce core repository if a developer opens a feature request as an issue on GitHub, they’ll be redirected over to the ideas board so that other developers can weigh in and discuss features and vote on them. WooCommerce does use that to a certain extent to set priorities and pick features that they might like to implement and include in their roadmap.

Business Priorities

The fact is, because Automattic is a private for profit company, they do have business priorities that affect their engineering priorities and so oftentimes they will have to redirect their effort over to certain platform work. In the case of Allen’s division, certain platform work doesn’t necessarily let them give these important features the attention and time that they would like to commit to.

In the end, it’s not a straightforward answer but they do set priorities from a number of sources and inputs, and it just shifts a little bit over time.

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