Value prioritization is a way of prioritizing items (products, features, projects, tasks, etc) that take into account the value of each item.
Value prioritization is a core principle of the Scrum framework and should be at the heart of any organization that wishes to work with agile methodologies. Value-based prioritization tasks the team with identifying which items must be completed immediately and which can wait until a more appropriate time.
While running prioritization sessions with value-based prioritization, you need to consider the following factors:
Value: How much value will this item add to the customer experience?
Risk or uncertainty: Will this item be worth pursuing, or could it set the development process back?
Dependencies: Will the dismissal of this item cause problems with items we’re developing in this upcoming sprint?
By prioritizing items in this way, projects can be completed in a more streamlined fashion. It also allows teams to pivot on a dime as they’re not working on too many items simultaneously. Most importantly, it ensures that value to the customer is considered throughout every stage of development, from ideation to finalizing features.
Most prioritization frameworks look at things from a customer’s perspective, especially those with agile methodologies. Yet, a business doesn’t run on customers, it runs on income and profit. With that in mind, it’s worth looking at prioritization from the point of view of your business from time to time.
Unfortunately, business value prioritization is a tricky task. The more business-minded people within your organization will be management or other non-development roles. The development teams have been trained to think of customer value as the number one priority. This means most teams struggle, and often fail, at business value prioritization.
As a product owner looking to start prioritizing your backlog by the business value you should have the following questions in mind:
What can we do that has never been done before?
What do customers really want to see?
What could potentially hold up the release?
These questions help teams to develop in a way that prioritizes features that have the biggest advantages for the business, be it a feature no competitor can offer or a popular feature that will score well with marketing.
Value vs effort prioritization enables teams to weigh up initiatives against the technical complexity involved in delivering them. Those items with the highest value to the customer or business and are simple to implement will be pushed to the top of the list. Those that fall into the opposite category will be left until later or even removed entirely.
MoSCoW: A tool for establishing a hierarchy of priorities during a project. Defines factors like product cost, quality, and requirements as early as possible. Kano Analysis: A method of identifying the most important features when creating a product based on expected user satisfaction. Buy-a-feature: Where the development team works directly with customers or other stakeholders to determine which features they value most.
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