How can you deliver maximum business value in a minimum time span?
The Scrum framework is driven by the goal of delivering maximum business value in a minimum time
span. One of the most effective tools for delivering the greatest value in the shortest amount of time is
Prioritizing can be defined as determining the order and separating what must be done now, from what
needs to be done later. The concept of prioritization is not new to project management. The traditional
Waterfall model of project management proposes using multiple task prioritization tools. From the
Project Manager’s point of view, prioritization is integral because certain tasks must be accomplished
first to expedite the development process and achieve the project goals. Some of the traditional
techniques of task prioritization include setting deadlines for delegated tasks and using prioritization
Scrum, however, uses value-based Prioritization is one of the core principles that drives the structure
and functionality of the entire Scrum framework – and helps projects benefit through adaptability and
iterative development of the product. More significantly, Scrum aims at delivering a valuable product to
the customer on an early and continuous basis.
Prioritization is done by the Product Owner when he/she prioritizes User Stories in the Prioritized
Product Backlog. The Prioritized Product Backlog contains a list of all the requirements needed to bring
the project to fruition.
Once the Product Owner has received the business requirements from the customer and written
these down in the form of workable User Stories, she or he works with the customer and sponsor to
understand which business requirements provide maximum business value. The Product Owner must
understand what the customer wants and values in order to arrange the Prioritized Product Backlog
Items (User Stories) by relative importance. Sometimes, a customer may mandate all User Stories to be
of high priority. While this might be true, even a list of high-priority User Stories needs to be prioritized
within the list itself. Prioritizing a backlog involves determining the criticality of each User Story.
High-value requirements are identified and moved to the top of the Prioritized Product Backlog. The
processes in which the principle of Value-based Prioritization is put into practice are Create Prioritized
Product Backlog and Groom Prioritized Product Backlog.
Simultaneously, the Product Owner must work with the Scrum Team to understand the project risks
and uncertainty as they may have negative consequences associated with them. This should be taken
into account while prioritizing User Stories on a value-based approach (refer to the Risk chapter for
more information). The Scrum Team also brings to the notice of the Product Owner any dependencies
that arise out of implementation. These dependencies must be taken into account during prioritization.
Prioritization may be based on a subjective estimate of the projected business value or profitability, or
it can be based on results and analysis of the market using tools including, but not limited to, customer
interviews, surveys, and financial models and analytical techniques.
The Product Owner has to translate the inputs and needs of the project stakeholders to create the
Prioritized Product Backlog. Hence while prioritizing the User Stories in the Prioritized Product Backlog,
the following three factors are considered:
2. Risk or uncertainty
Thus prioritization results in deliverables that satisfies the requirements of the customer with the
objective of delivering the maximum business value in the least amount of time.