Let's be honest, most people have tendencies to prioritize bugs from the latest customers complains or the newest shiniest ideas that just popped in their heads. Using one of the prioritization methods brings in a bit more structure and gives more confidence over your process.
The Value vs. Effort method is one of the quickest way how to prioritize your backlog for everyone who doesn't want to focus just on their gut feeling.
How to use Value vs. Effort Method
Using this framework you need to first identify what is the Value and Effort for each of your priorities.
Ask "How does this contribute to our goal". Goal here can be anything that you are focusing in your project. Few examples are increasing customer satisfaction, getting more closed deals, increasing code quality etc.
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
- 20 for Super high
With this metric we clarify "How difficult it is to deliver the task". Don't forget to asses effort of your whole team, the Effort should be based on estimation of all parties involved.
To keep prioritization faster let's not ask for detailed estimation. T-shirt sizing estimation should meet our needs just now:
- 1 for XS,
- 5 for S,
- 8 for M,
- 13 for L,
- 20 for XL.
This method mainly focuses on vizualising your tasks on the priority matrix that creates four quadrants:
1. Time sinks - These tasks take too long to complete and value isn't that big. Leave them as last or skip them all together.
2. Big projects - These will bring huge value but they usually require more time and resources. Plan for them properly.
3. Quick wins - Do these first to bring value and see results in no time! Big value for lowest effort.
4. Fill-ins - Do these in spare time. They won't require too much time so you can do them while you're waiting in between tasks.
But you can also calculate the priority score if you want to look on your tasks from a bit different dimension.
"A good plan, violently executed now, is better than perfect plan next week." - General George Patton
The Value vs. Effort prioritization technique is popular for it's simplicity. It's fast to implement and structuring your tasks into the Priority Matrix is great vizual way how to identify quick wins in your backlog.
Priority Matrix FAQ
What is a priority matrix?
Priority matrix is a prioritization method that helps visually identify the most important work on a 2x2 matrix. There are different types of priority matrix depending on the key metrics that are being analyzed.
Examples of priority matrix are:
- Eisenhower matrix (Urgency vs Importance),
- Value vs Effort matrix,
- Impact vs Effort matrix
How to read value vs effort matrix?
Value vs Effort matrix quadrants are:
1. Time sinks - These tasks take too long to complete and value isn't that big.
2. Big projects - These will bring huge value but they usually require more time and resources.
3. Quick wins - Highest impact for lowest effort.
4. Fill-ins - These tasks won't require too much time but the impact isn’t too impressive.