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Say goodbye to your product backlog in 2023

Ken Miller Chief Technology Officer
Publish date: 18th January 2023

The problem

You have your Q1 release planned out, Q2 release is getting filled quickly and the Q3 and Q4 releases are destined for a time when it’s not cold, wet, and dark outside. So, I’m guessing you haven’t even started planning for them yet.

What you’re faced with:

  • Reducing your never-ending backlog of technical debt? (How is it technical debt when you only wrote the code six months ago?)
  • Customer enhancements
  • Third-party library updates
  • New innovative features

We all understand how challenging it can be to prioritize tasks in the backlog! There may be conflicting priorities, or it may be tough to determine which tasks are most important, or have the highest potential impact. As a result, lower-priority tasks or big-ticket items may linger in the backlog for an extended period.

The solution: buy and wave goodbye to your backlog!

How do you wave goodbye to your backlog items? Well, one way is to buy an out of the box solution. Firstly, take a look at the backlog; what are the big-ticket items that you know will add value to your customers and business? Then, ask yourself, are they core to your IP? If they are a high priority but not core to your IP, then purchasing an out of the box solution may be the fix you need.

Successful SaaS businesses build their IP around best-of-breed solutions. Some examples of this include:

Payment gateways and subscription management:

Onboarding:

Helpdesk:

I could go on but I’m guessing you get my gist.

SaaS companies realize that their product and development resources are scarce. Their focus must be on developing their product and continuing to innovate based on their core IP (I certainly know this is the case with my team at Panintelligence). When I speak with other SaaS CTOs about buy vs build, there seems to be a consensus these days that buying outweighs building.

The advantage of buy vs build

So, what are the advantages of buy vs build and embedding solutions into your platform? It’s not just about the reduction in your backlog; there are wider business benefits I’m convinced that you will see! For example, increased customer satisfaction, improvements to churn (we all want this don’t we!), and happier product teams.

At, Panintelligence, we are no different. Panintelligence focuses on self-serve embedded analytics and business intelligence solutions for SaaS vendors. Over the Christmas and New Year period, I looked at our backlog and, like many other businesses, started to prioritize.

Some big-ticket enhancements were needed quickly. I’ve no doubt that my product and development team could have delivered the capability, but our teams time needs to focus on items that are core to our IP. Because of this, I decided that looking at a leading SaaS onboarding platform was necessary (more about our selection process in my next blog). With minimal development input, we can embed product enhancements and reduce the backlog without adding strain to the product and development team.

It turns out that in the downtime between Christmas and New Year, I have managed to remove a big-ticket item from my backlog. By removing this item, the Product Marketing and Customer Success teams are happy, and the development team are delighted to see the backlog disappear without writing a line of code.

Discover more about the benefits of embedded analytics for your business

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Ken Miller, Chief Technology Officer Ken has worked in Software Development and complex data systems for over 25 years. Troubled by the complexity and lack of security in Business Intelligence tools, he and his team (with some help!) started writing their own. Seventeen years on (and still going), they have been joined by a team of passionate techies who have shared the vision and managed to deliver what they could never have done alone. Ken admits he may be a one-trick pony, but he loves data passionately; where others see problems, he sees his next challenge. Bringing structure and meaning to a world of increasing complexity is his hobby – except on the weekend when he enjoys surfing on a beautiful beach in the glorious north east of England.View all posts by Ken Miller
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