Let’s be honest, most people have tendencies to prioritise bugs from the latest customers’ complaints or the newest shiniest ideas that just popped into their heads. Using one of the prioritisation methods brings in a bit more structure and gives more confidence over your process.
Effort x Value provides a fast way to prioritise a list of items, by relatively comparing the effort to complete the item and how valuable it is
This method mainly focuses on visualising your tasks on the priority matrix that creates four quadrants:
- Time sinks: These tasks take too long to complete and the value isn’t that big. Leave them as last or skip them altogether.
- Big projects: These will bring huge value but they usually require more time and resources. Selected items should be raised as an OKR item for discussion and prioritisation – Treat more significant pieces of technical initiatives/debt as projects.
- Quick wins: Do these first to bring value and see results in no time! Big value for the lowest effort. Selected items should be moved to the Jira backlog for team discussion and prioritisation
- Fill-ins: Do these in your spare time. They won’t require too much time so you can do them while you’re waiting in between tasks.
What impact would solving this issue have on the customers (external or internal), or on the team velocity – or, when thinking about risk, what impact would not solve the issue have?
Ask “How does this contribute to our goal”. The goal here can be anything that you are focusing on in your project, OKRs or company goals
Quantifying this can be hard, to make it easier use the following scale:
- 1 for Minimal
- 5 for Low
- 8 for Medium
- 13 for High
Optional – How many people will this impact? 100% of your customer base? Only a specific persona? X amount Platform teams?
“Now-Next-Later” communicate your priorities over broad timeframes with an emphasis on the near-term.
Ask “How difficult it is to deliver the task?” or “How much effort would it take to solve the issue?”. Don’t forget to assess the effort of your whole team, the Effort should be based on all parties involved.
To keep prioritisation faster let’s not ask for a detailed estimation. T-shirt sizing estimation should meet our needs just now:
Remember that it’s a relative metric, comparable only across the other issues in the current batch.
- 1 for XS
- 5 for S
- 8 for M
- 13 for L
Type of items
- TI → Tech initiative
- Doc → Documentation
- TD – xxx → Tech Debt – see classification image below
Promoting items to the team’s Backlog
Be careful to not create two backlogs – one product-focused and one tech-focused. This page is only for gathering initial ideas/initiatives/issues, organising and evaluating value vs effort. After that items should be moved to either OKR (PI planning page) or Jira backlog
Big Projects: Selected items should be raised as an OKR item for discussion and prioritisation – Treat more significant pieces of technical initiatives/debt as projects
Quick Wins and Fill-ins: Selected items should be moved to the Jira backlog for team discussion and prioritisation as BAU
Time Sinks: Leave them as last or skip them completely.
[ TEMPLATE ] – Table of Tech Initiatives/Debts
The table can be configured/stored in Jira (with tickets) or Confluence – see template structure below