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Requirements Prioritization


Requirements prioritization definition

Requirements prioritization is the practice of identifying and managing the importance of various requirements to acknowledge the limited resources available. 

Most stakeholders view all requirements as equally important. They don’t always understand that development teams are working with limited time and resources. This can cause friction between the different parties. By performing requirements prioritization techniques, you can ease that tension and help stakeholders understand the limitations of development teams.

Developers and stakeholders should collaborate when creating requirements prioritization strategies. This allows you to explore various alternatives when conflict arises.


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Why is requirements prioritization important?

In an ideal world, dev teams will have all the resources, time, and money they want to put into every project. Unfortunately, the reality is that teams often battle against limitations that force them to compromise on various aspects of development.

Without prioritization, teams have much less wiggle room when it comes to changing requirements. They need to know how to prioritize requirements to avoid missing deadlines, going over budget, or dropping requirements altogether. You can deliver a good product that satisfies customers and performs below business expectations with prioritization

Requirements prioritization techniques allow development teams to make compromises that don’t detract from the product’s value. It helps them better manage resources and requirements and prepare for unknowns. Say your requirements prioritization shows that some requirements are unfeasible given the allocated resources. The development team can collaborate with the stakeholders to identify the best way to proceed with the project. 

The more you go through requirement prioritization, the better your stakeholders will understand the limitations the dev team faces. This will help to make collaboration much more streamlined and manage expectations for the future.

What are 3 ways to prioritize requirements?

With so many prioritization techniques available, it can be difficult to know how to prioritize requirements. Thankfully, you can use some familiar prioritization frameworks that you’re likely familiar with already.

MoSCoW method

MoSCoW prioritization is a great tool for establishing a hierarchy of priorities during a project. It solves one of the biggest issues of less robust prioritization tools by laying out specific definitions for each priority level.

MoSCoW is an acronym that gives us four prioritization categories: Must-have, Should-have, Could-have, and Won’t-have. 

This is a great choice for requirements prioritization because it clearly labels each requirement. This helps stakeholders quickly understand how requirement priorities are affected by resource limitations.

ICE scoring

ICE scoring prioritizes requirements using three set measurements: Impact, Confidence, and Ease. This requirement prioritization technique differs from weighted prioritization methods by using just these three parameters and assigning each a relative score. 

ICE is one of the quicker and easier requirement prioritization strategies, though it does suffer from being quite subjective. 

Kano analysis

The Kano Model looks at which features will be most important to customer satisfaction levels. It looks purely from an outside perspective to identify which requirements will truly add value for the user.

This is highly useful for requirements prioritization, as it helps manage limited resources without detracting from the user experience. 

What is the agile method for prioritizing requirements?

As with anything in the agile world, there are several different methods for prioritizing requirements in an agile setting. 

Priority poker

There’s no reason that planning and prioritization need to be dull. Priority poker allows teams to prioritize requirements and have a little fun in the process. It’s also one of the best requirements prioritization techniques for eliminating subconscious bias like the HiPPO effect.

Cost of Delay (CoD)

Cost of Delay is a crucial metric that emphasizes development time for each requirement. It places a monetary value on any delays and tasks the team with prioritizing requirements with time frames in mind. 

Opportunity Scoring

Opportunity scoring is another requirements prioritization technique that focuses on the user. The results of opportunity scoring allow teams to dedicate more time and resources to requirements that customers really need.


Roadmapping From A to Z

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General FAQ

What are some requirements prioritization strategies?
Teams can use standard prioritization frameworks such as MoSCoW, Kano, and ICE scoring for requirements prioritization.
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