Linking Long-Term Product Planning and Requirements Prioritization to Customer Value Creation

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


  • Laura Lehtola-Karttunen

Research units


Creating value for different customer segments is essential to the business of a company. Thus, software product development companies' ability to implement the most valuable requirements in their products has been seen as critical. The literature offers requirements prioritization methods for selecting requirements, but their suitability for solving practical challenges is not clear. The state of the practice in long-term product planning and requirements prioritization, and the practical challenges involved is not thoroughly analysed. Therefore, the connection between the selection of product features and customer value creation is also an area that needs more investigation. This thesis investigates the current state of long-term product planning and requirements prioritization, and their linkages to customer value creation in market-driven software product development. The results are based on the experience gathered from 7 Finnish software product development companies that had recognized the importance to improve their long-term product planning and requirements prioritization practices. To gain a deep understanding in real product development context, we conducted longitudinal case studies using an action research approach. In addition, we evaluated the suitability of requirements prioritization methods in product development projects. The thesis provides a systematic analysis of long-term product planning and requirements prioritization activities and challenges involved in the market-driven software product development companies. According to our results product planning activities are at a low-level, focusing on the individual features of individual products in short term. Practitioners have challenges in drawing different viewpoints together into product planning. Both integrating business and customer viewpoints to the project level as well as integrating the understanding about technical limitations and possibilities to product level planning was difficult in practice. The requirements prioritization methods did not solve the practical challenges. On the basis of our findings we also propose a set of practices that support the link from long-term product planning and requirements prioritization to customer value creation. The essence of the suggested practices is 1) in the shift of planning focus from individual product features towards understanding the processes of customers and users and in describing the solutions from the customer viewpoint as a whole and 2) in the cross-functional effort to be able to combine the three main viewpoints of customer value creation (company's own business, customers and users, and implementation).


Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
Print ISBNs978-952-60-6590-8
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-6591-5
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)

    Research areas

  • requirements prioritization, long-term productplanning, roadmapping, solution planning, market-driven requirements engineering, customer value, value creation

ID: 18168454