Everything You Need to Know About Agile Prioritization Techniques

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Nov 02, 2021

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What Is Prioritization?

When looking for the definition of prioritization, you are sure to find several interpretations which will all point to one common thought. Prioritization entails structuring work such that an essential facet is completed or dealt with first.

For example, if we were to assemble a bunch of activities and things that needed to be accomplished, we would prioritize which items to do and finish first. We would spend more time on higher priority items than lower priority ones based on various considerations (for example - criticalness). It enables us to manage time and resources more effectively, focusing more on specific activities and boosting our productivity.

Why Is Prioritization Important?

Setting priorities is crucial to keep things under control when trying to do many different things at once. When you prioritize, you are deciding what to do first. It is phenomenal for making sure that the tasks you have will get done on time so that when it comes to doing lower priority tasks, the process will not take much time since you have already taken care of everything else.

The moment one fails to prioritize, they might feel extremely overwhelmed by their to-do list or even rush through everything because there are just too many things demanding their attention at once.

Prioritization In Agile Practice

Prioritization is one of the main concepts used in agile practice. Sometimes, it may be hard to determine how the team should complete tasks as not all things can be done at once.

It is integral that as an agile team, you understand just how much time and workforce you have available to tackle each requirement within a project so as not to lose sight of your temporary constraints and focus on only what takes prominence over others.

However, this process becomes especially crucial in agile due to project time-boxing and resource limitations. While working on a project, the team has a limited budget and time. Prioritizing is required to decide what top features should be worked on first or put into production to bring about customer value from a limited set of possibilities from the backlog.


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Factors To Consider While Determining Agile Prioritization Techniques

Here are some factors you need to consider before deciding the Agile Prioritization Techniques:

Financial Worth - Analyze the financial worth of the project properly. Consider all elements that are important for successful project execution. 

Budget - After determining the financial worth, the product owner needs to analyze the project's cost. Coupled with the financial worth, the budget helps the product owner layout the project RoI (Return on Investment).

Risk Analysis - Analyzing risks is essential before laying the process of agile prioritization. It aids in making an informed decision to avoid cost overrun.

Knowledge Gain - The product owner also needs to evaluate the tangible effect of implementing agile prioritization techniques. They need to consider the amount and importance of the team's knowledge when performing on the project.

What Are The Popular Prioritization Techniques?

In a perfect world, project managers would place all scheduled tasks in their backlog into a hierarchy based purely on gut instinct. Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world, and a mistake can put a project at risk.

That is why it is important for those responsible for prioritizing tasks in a backlog to rely on something more than just one's professional skills or knowledge. This helps give peace of mind if any last-minute changes could potentially jeopardize the entire schedule otherwise.

The following has a list of the most frequent agile prioritizing techniques:

MoSCoW Agile Prioritization Techniques

MoSCoW is one of the most stable and most popular project management approaches for prioritizing products. The method combines four priority categories:

Must- 'Must' refers to compulsory elements. The current sprint will almost certainly fail if you forsake them.

Should- This represents items that would be beneficial to have but are optional. They will not greatly impact the delivery of the minimum viable product but will still positively impact the product if implemented.

Could- 'Could' are the non-essential elements that would make your product more appealing to users. These are small-scale improvements that do not require countless resources and help build confidence within the market, yet are ultimately important factors in distinguishing your product from its competitors.

Would- 'Would' are the low-hanging fruit of potential features. They are highly unlikely to make it into the current release but should be noted as a future 'wish list.' 

Kano Model

The Kano Model provides a new approach for understanding customer satisfaction and preference by focusing on the level of satisfaction that people expect from a product.

Noriaki Kano first coined it in 1980. To come up with a solid strategy helps to break the audience into segments to understand better how they use your product or service. Another approach involves implementing Kano's four criteria: Must-be, Attractive, One-Dimensional, Indifferent, and Reverse. This allows viewers to gain a general understanding of what users want from any given product or service.

Must-be: Only if these features are incorporated does a customer believe the product to be functioning.

Attractive: These features are bonuses to the product experience. They are usually unexpected but are regarded as pleasant surprises.

One-Dimensional: These features are not 'must-haves,' but they tend to be extremely alluring to customers.

Indifferent: Features that users do not care about.

Reverse: Reverse features are the worst. They have an adverse effect on consumer retention.

The Opportunity Scoring Model

Anthony Ulwick's Satisfaction-to-outcome graph separates companies' value propositions to see if they are satisfying customers' needs — that means their desired outcomes. Since the first principles of Outcome-Driven Innovation are premised on the contention that there is one universal truth - 'the customer,' nothing else matters.

Companies have to learn what problems are most important to their customers. Product managers should strive to determine what factors drive satisfaction and what indicators drive their product's success. This agile prioritization technique has proven an extremely effective process for helping leaders prioritize opportunities based on both customer input and market research.

The EndNote

A product owner utilizes all three above techniques and thus concludes the prioritization activity towards obtaining customer satisfaction and customer value. The total procedure of agile prioritization is strictly followed to generate customer value, which is practicable with originality, concentrated implementation, and lean delivery. Enroll in ACP Training and learn all three techniques.


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