Step 3: Prioritize

This chapter describes the third step in the framework, revolving around the prioritization of the previously identified opportunities and improvements.

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Step 3: Prioritize – prioritizing the envisioned opportunities and improvements

The goal of the prioritization step is to reach early alignment between stakeholders on what should be done first. Inexperienced agile teams often make the error of trying to reach alignment too late in the process. At this early stage, changes are still cheap and alignment makes sure everyone will row in the same direction. Besides aligning the prioritization, it is also important to align with the stakeholders how prioritization is done. Making the ruleset for prioritization transparent helps build a common understanding, thus streamlining the process and reducing the amount of conflict around prioritization during future development.

The inputs for this stage are the identified opportunities and improvements from the stage before. The output of this stage is a prioritized list of opportunities and improvements. To reach that conclusion, we need two things for each of those items: Their relative effort and their value.

Using effort and value, they are then graphically sorted. (See schematic below)

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Items in the bottom right corner are in the sweet spot and should be the top priority items, as they can be done quickly, and yield the highest value.

On the other hand, items in the top left corner, which require high effort, but only yield minimal value should be avoided (or even skipped completely). If items are skipped, it’s also important to have that discussion and also reach alignment on these decisions.

Note that the placement of items in this diagram is relative to each other, which means it is not important to precisely estimate the effort of each item, but sufficient to make sure the relative position is correct. This makes the process much faster, and thus can be repeated at regular intervals, without requiring weeks of estimation work.

As a result of this step, all collected opportunities and improvements from the user journey map should be placed inside the diagram, relative to each other (see schematic below)

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For your product, the result of this step is a prioritized list of things to be developed. As some opportunities/improvements may be skipped because of their low priority, this step strongly affects the scope of our product. As agreement on product scope is important, we recommend to do this alignment with product managers/product owners, Requirements Engineers, representatives from each team and key stakeholders. (See Prioritization Meeting for more detail)