Whether you think about it or not, all our lives, we've prioritized responsibilities. For example, in our personal lives, we prioritize our spending habits by paying our obligations first. It wouldn't make sense to go on a shopping spree before paying bills first, would it? When working on a project is the same, it is vital to prioritize tasks, requirements, and resources to achieve a project's end goal.
By effectively prioritizing requirements, you allow yourself and your team to understand the objectives of the project and where it's headed. Prioritizing will help:
Reduce heavy workloads by effectively distributing tasks
Arrange your schedule by allocating the appropriate time to each task
Focus on important tasks
But, sometimes prioritizing is easier said than done. When there are many tasks, requirements, and emails to go through, the situation can get overwhelming. There are a few methods that can help you successfully prioritize the tasks you are given. In this way, you will optimize time and focus on your ultimate goal.
The 2x2 matrix of Lean prioritization helps differentiate tasks that are high in value and effort to understand which are higher priority. The matrix pans out in the X-axis the value of the requirement and in the Y-axis how much effort they require. The value represents your client and how much that requirement means to them. The effort represents the energy that will take to deliver a given requirement. To get started list out all your requirements and with the help of your team separate them into the axis to determine the level of priority of each. Avoid marking everything as essential and keep your matrix balanced by properly distributing requirements.
MoSCow Prioritization Technique
MoSCow is an acronym for must, should, could, and won't. This technique will allow you to categorize your requirements into those four categories:
Must have: these requirements should be implemented immediately.
Should have: these requirements are important but don't have any strict time frames, although they may require big efforts to develop.
Could have: these are requirements that can be developed in flexible approach without harming or creating setbacks.
Won't have: these requirements are nice to haves but are not crucial to the development of the project. Won't have requirements can be proposals for the next stages of the project.
The Kano Model
The Kano Model helps prioritize customer satisfaction. This model helps measure satisfaction, reaction, and feelings to understand the level of priority a requirement may have. The model was developed in the 1980's by Nariaki Kano, a quality management professor at the Tokyo University of Science. He built the model to help increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. In this type of model, there are three main characteristics into which group our requirements:
Basic: basic features are those that your product needs in order for it to be competitive. In terms of customer satisfaction, if these don't work properly most likely your users won't be able to interact properly with the product.
Expected: expected features are those that will not be missed by clients but can create pleasure in your customers if added. They are also called "attractive features" because, as the word implies, they attract users into interacting with the product. They generate a positive response from users.
Performance: performance features increase customer satisfaction, but don't make or break your product. With these features, you must think carefully about how much time, effort, and money you're willing to spend on them.
ICE Scoring model
The ICE scoring model helps by calculating the score of an by using a mathematical formula. This formula was created by Sean Ellis, an entrepreneur, angel investor, and startup advisor. He first invented the model as an idea intended to help prioritize growth experiments, but its success led to be used for prioritizing features. So what's this formula?
Impact x Confidence x Ease = ICE SCORE
The impact will determine how positive your idea will affect your product. Confidence represents how sure you are of said impact, and ease symbolizes the effort and resources it will take to build the requirement. Score each value from 1-10, and choose your own criteria for the classification. Make a table with a list of those requirements and organize them by their ICE score, this way you can prioritize at a higher level those with a high score and at a lower level those with a low score. Some questions that you can answer to score criteria can be:
How impactful will it be?
Will this feature lead to an improvement?
How easy will it be to develop and launch this idea?
There are many other methodologies and models to prioritize features. Even though, they were all made for different purposes they can help you organize your team and your tasks a lot better. Prioritizing features in your backlog, before adding them to your roadmap will be a huge step towards team organization. By following a proper prioritizing method you will see the changes in workload and communication within your team. And why not? Try one of the methods in your everyday life as a practice and let us know what you think!