5 steps to prioritize your backlog based on value
Picture this: There is a potential new feature for your product and you need to decide how important is it compared to the features already there. What do you do?
- Step 1: Identify the main drivers within your organization. These drivers are your company’s vision and purpose. Let me give you my personal example. For me, important drivers in life are personal growth (not in length, I’ve accepted being tiny 🙂 ), family life, career growth and financial stability.
- Step 2: you might give a different weight to each of the drivers. In my example: if my family life is more important than my career (which it is :-)), personal satisfaction or financial stability. Then I would consider that for me, family life score counts for double.
- Step 3: score the value of your backlog items against the drivers you have identified. If a new item on my life backlog would be a journey around the world then an eventual value scoring can be:
- Personal satisfaction: 9 (in a scale of 1-10) * 1 =9 [Yep. This is my childhood dream]
- Family life: 0 (in a scale of 1-10) *2 = 0 [it doesn’t help my marriage when I’m away for a year
- Career growth: 0 (in a scale of 1-10)*1= 0 [My boss might not be too amused if I’m gone for a year]
- Financial stability: 0 (in a scale of 1-10)*1=0 [Unless I’m involved in some dodgy stuff, I will come back far poorer after my journey]. Based on this scoring, my hypothetical journey around the world scores a total value of 9.
- Step 4: challenge your scores with stakeholders to get a consensus and buy in to your priority decision. In my example, my most important stakeholders would be my husband, my son and my boss. What if my boss considers this journey as very valuable for my personal development and encourages me to go. This would bring the score for career growth from 0 to 5. And my husband is willing to bring Adam and join me in part of my journey, a few months. This would bring the score for family life from 0 to 4. So our revised value total is 9+ (4*2)+5+0 = 23.
- Step 5: use this value calculation principle for ALL items on your backlog. Then you can use the outcome to make your priority decisions. Back to my example. Imagine that another item on my personal backlog would be having a second child [just for the sake of the example :P]. If I would score the value for this item. it could be:
- Personal satisfaction = 8 [makes me happy 🙂 ]
- Family life = 9 [our little boy needs a brother or sister]
- Career growth = 0 [I still remember what all those sleepless nights, combined with a crazy load of hormones did to my brain… :-p ]
- Financial benefit = 0 [babies are very expensive, believe me!]. That gives this second item a value of 26. Based on that I should forget the journey around world and start working on my second backlog item 🙂 simple isn’t
Well, of course it doesn’t make every choice an easy one 🙂 . But it helps! Most important thing to remember here is that it isn’t all about the money. Value comes in many forms. Find out what drives you and your organization and choose accordingly.
That’s it folks! My best wishes for 2016.
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