Agile Prioritization Techniques

In product development, we have to prioritize tasks to implement the important ones first in an optimal way. So what does prioritization mean, and why is it important? It is the process of evaluating a group of tasks and ranking them in the order of importance. So the agile team will work on the requirements in order. It focuses on the main features that make the minimum viable product to deliver to the customer. That is why prioritization is the most important concept of agile practices. Since agile projects are based on time constraints, understanding prioritization is essential. We need to find out what matters the most to the customer and work on it first. So the team resources can finish the project within the timeline. In this post, we will explain to you the three agile prioritization techniques that help businesses to drive more value.

Agile prioritization factors

We should take a lot of factors into consideration while prioritizing the tasks of a project. Here are some common factors that one needs to keep in mind during the beginning of the product development lifecycle.

Financial value - It plays a vital role in prioritizing requirements. We can categorize tasks value to new revenue, incremental revenue, or operational efficiency.

Cost - We have to estimate the cost of implementing the requirements. The cost value together determines the ROI of the project.

Compliance - Regulate a set of rules to be followed throughout the development of the project.

Knowledge Gain - The next factor to consider is the amount of knowledge that the project team will gain while working on the requirements.

Resources - Make sure that the right resources are assigned for the project. It is also good to have an experienced resource with domain knowledge, so the team can connect with him for any backlogs or doubts.

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Dependencies - Check out if any dependencies are there for the requirements of the projects and make sure that are satisfied before the team starts the development.

Risk - Understand the risks and come up with features that remove the risks.

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Agile prioritization techniques

The prioritization techniques are set to determine the features that contribute to achieving the goals of the project. To help with the prioritization problem, there are a lot of techniques available that people can use. Below are the three popular techniques used by many companies.

  • MoSCoW prioritization
  • Kano Model
  • The relative weighting method

MoSCoW Agile Prioritization Technique

This prioritization technique is popularized by the DSDM (Dynamic Software Development Method) methodology. In this method, the list of requirements is categorized into 4 groups.

Must (M) - It determines the requirements that must be satisfied with the final product. It includes the features that make the minimum viable product to deliver to the customer.

Should (S) - It determines the requirements that are vital but not that important. These requirements should be satisfied if possible in one way or the other, i.e., maybe implement a workaround for it.

Could (C) - It represents the requirements that are considerable but not necessary. If there is time, the resources can implement them.

Won't (W) - It describes the requirements that the customer and the team agreed not to implement in the current release plan. But they might be considered for the future. 

Related Article: Agile Scrum Methodologies

The O's in the middle is added for easy pronunciation. After all the requirements of the projects are classified in these groups, they are ranked in the order of implementation according to the customer's preference.

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Kano Model prioritization technique

This prioritization technique is introduced by Professor Noriaki Kano. It involves three levels of customer satisfaction - disappointment, not happy, and immediate happiness. It consists of two factors that impact customer satisfaction. They can also be considered as dimensions on a graph like below,

  • X-axis - the existence of features 
  • Y-axis - degree of implementation

These together determine the satisfaction level of the customer. If the basic features are implemented, it leads to a basic level of satisfaction for customers. If we implement the most important features, it leads to a greater level of satisfaction. We can achieve a full level of satisfaction from the customer when the product is fully implemented.

The relative weighting prioritization technique

In this method, the requirements of a product are prioritized based on their calculated weights. The formula used for weight calculation is as follows.

(Benefit score + Penalty score) / (Cost score + Risk score)

Benefit score - The benefits of implementing the requirement.

Penalty score - The penalty for not implementing the requirement.

Cost - The cost it takes to implement the requirement.

Risk score - The risks that will arise during the implementation of the requirement.

Related Article: Top Agile Project Management tools

If the above formula results in numerical values, it will be easier for the project owner to prioritize the requirements. This will lead to customer value and satisfaction.

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Benefits of the prioritization techniques

The prioritization techniques are based on expert opinions, so the team can complete them easily. The following are some of the main advantages.

  • It helps in classifying the requirements and quickly rank them in the order of execution.
  • It will make sure that the project satisfies the bare minimum features required to achieve customer value.
  • It reduces the stress of the development team as they will have a perfect plan for what to implement when.
  • It helps in fully documenting the solution.
  • It helps in allocating sufficient time for all kinds of requirements ahead of time. 

Conclusion

While starting an agile project, you can choose any prioritization technique that meets your needs. It should help you in prioritizing not only the main project objectives but also the specific tasks that result in achieving those objectives. These techniques make it possible to focus on optimizing the value of work, and the execution of the project, in a lean way. The main thing is, no matter what the technique is used, it should lead to project success, which will result in customer value and a full level of customer satisfaction. 

Other Related Article:

1. Agile VS Scrum

2. Best Agile Certifications

3. Scaled Agile Framework

4. Agile resume

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Sachin
Sachin
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Am sachin I have worked with hkr trainings for more than 4 years .and our methodologies had been a practical suit for student culture and professionals. And I have trained more than 30 batches over the last 8 months. And I have great experience working with hkr trainings. Contact me with my LinkedIn and Twitter.

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