Prioritization Models in Agile Product Development

Prioritization models

If you are currently building a product or planning to build a product within the Agile framework, there are certain aspects of product development and management that must be contended with. When envisioning your brilliant product idea, you may have envisioned a smooth and seamless process from start to finish; however, the reality is that every product development must determine what is important and prioritize those aspects throughout development in order to keep things on track. It may even be the case that at some points, you must pull back and reassess priorities to get back on track. Fortunately, with smart Agile apps and with carefully selected prioritization models, it is possible to perform prioritization quickly and easily. Certainly, this is much more straightforward when you understand what prioritization is and what the most common prioritization models are within Agile product development.

What is Prioritization?

Prioritization is the process of looking through and evaluating the importance of product features and development steps in order to reach objectives or targets in the most efficient way possible. You may be familiar with prioritization already if you have attempted to or already created a Product Roadmap or Backlog. With a Roadmap, it is crucial to prioritize features, and within Scaled Agile, features, and products in order to make sure your team is working on the right things in the right order through the Backlog.

Many Product Owners and Managers assume that prioritizing features will be the easy part of product development. While it may be true that expertise, experience, and intuition can assist in making significant decisions, these should not be the only resources you draw from. As a matter of fact, relying on only these methods can lead to dramatic time management and cost issues down the road in development. Thankfully, that’s precisely the problem that prioritization models were created to solve, and taking advantage of these models can only be beneficial in the long run.

What is a Prioritization Model for Agile?

One of the remarkable features of the Agile User Story Map & Product Roadmap app is that it allows you to organize your project and your team in the most effective way possible, creating engaging yet structured boards to suit your project processes. It is also flexible enough that you can use any prioritization model that works for your specific team. Ideally, your chosen prioritization model will allow for the following:

  • Application again and again for a complete product development process or towards specific scenarios (such as when customers are dissatisfied with products in a prototype)
  • Achievement of the objective and overall vision of the product
  • Delivery of a product that solves the problems or challenges of customers
  • Work that aligns with the overall business values and objectives
  • Reduction of the risks of working on a product that will not sell well
  • Reduction of the risks of not being able to develop the project properly due to mismanagement

What are the Three Best Prioritization Models for Agile?

Many possible prioritization frameworks or models have been developed that have offered small and large projects a great many advantages in regard to project development and management. A few of the most popular models are the Kano model, Opportunity Scoring, and Priority Poker.

The Kano Model

The Kano Model is one of the most popular prioritization models because it readily utilizes user feedback in the process of prioritizing features. This is advantageous for the simple fact that Product Owners and Managers should constantly be considering the customer or the end-user during any phase of development or management; a model that considers customer needs allows this to happen easily and effortlessly.

Particularly, when implementing the Kano model, you must evaluate the impact of each of your product features by placing them into three categories: necessary features, exciting features, and delighting features. After linking the features with the corresponding categories, you must rank them on an X-axis and Y-axis graph. In this way, you receive a simple yet aesthetically pleasing illustration of which features should be prioritized.

Opportunity Scoring

Opportunity scoring is an excellent way to determine feature priority in alignment with statistical customer satisfaction. In particular, it allows teams to perform substantial research and determine the features that are necessary for customers when customers are unsatisfied with your product or current products in the industry.

To implement Opportunity Scoring, you must create and deliver a survey to your customers to rank features (1 to 10) according to two main questions: How important is the feature to you? How satisfied are you with the current or available solutions to your particular challenges today? When you receive the results from the survey, you will be able to rank your features based on the formula:

Importance from the first question + (Importance from the first question – Satisfaction from the second question) = Your Opportunity

After performing this equation on each feature, you will be able to take the highest opportunities as the most prioritized features.

Priority Poker

Priority Poker is another popular prioritization model that gets its name from the real card game since it plays out very similarly; when you play poker, you naturally need to prioritize in order to be successful. For feature prioritization, you need to prioritize features that have the potential to lead to significant success in your industry or sector.

In order to perform priority poker properly, you need to involve all Management Roles and key Stakeholders in the project; you may also wish to involve end-users to include as many voices as possible. They will then vote for the significance of each feature. After, you can analyze the results and prioritize features according to the compiled ranks. The same process can be applied to tasks, in order to prioritize your Backlog properly.

These three prioritization models are the most popular prioritization models today, although there are possibly hundreds of variations and other distinct models available. The key is to find a model that works for your specific product, team, and scenario. It is also advantageous to use productive and collaborative tools no matter which model you choose. Specifically, you may wish to take advantage of User Story Mapping for Jira or Confluence, LeanBoard Collaboration for Jira or Confluence, and Team Decisions for Confluence.

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