Prioritization Notes

The best ideas on how to make a decision on what to do next


An essential question for development is not only how to find a problem solution, but also what to implement first. And there are always bugs to be fixed. Learn about feature prioritization and peculiarities of bug prioritization.

Prioritizing Bug Fixes
Prioritizing Bug Fixes
Evaluate bugs by factors:
  • Likelihood—How many transactions (sessions) does the problem occur?
    Options: <1%  · 1% · <10%  · >10%
  • Severity—How bad is it if the problem does occur?
    Options: Obvious workaround available (OWA) · Non-obvious workaround available (N-OWA) · Important functionality unavailable (IFU).
3x4 Matrix Likelihood vs. Severity:
  • OWA + <1% → Very Low
  • OWA + 1% → Low
  • OWA + <10% → High
  • OWA + >10% → High
  • N-OWA + <1% → Low
  • N-OWA + 1% → Medium
  • N-OWA + <10%. → High
  • N-OWA + >10% → Very High
  • IFU + <1% → Medium
  • IFU + 1% → High
  • IFU + <10% → Very High
  • IFU + >10% → Very High
RHiNO Effect
RHiNO Effect

Really High-value New Opportunity—a sales-person with a customer deal for an unplanned feature insisting re-allocating resources to build what's required to win the deal.

  • Ignored strategy and roadmap.
  • Resources allocated to serve a single customer.
Two ways to handle:
  1. Compare the opportunity cost and value, and argue against signing the deal if you have customer insight supporting the roadmap.
  2. Adjust the roadmap if the opportunity includes features you already had planned for later in the year.
The North Star Method
The North Star Method
  1. Set a North Star metric—consolidate the work you’re doing and the value you’re delivering across acquisition, engagement, conversion, and retention.
  2. Define your user flows—define your app’s key events; draw the flows between events; use your analytics to identify the percentage of users taking each flow.
  3. Build a growth model—use the information about the user flows and are guided by the North Star metric to determine the growth drivers.
  4. Create a spreadsheet—transfer the model to a spreadsheet and evaluate your opportunities, to see how they impact growth.

Weighted Shortest Job First used to sequence jobs (eg., Features, Capabilities, and Epics) to produce maximum economic benefit.

WSJF = Cost of Delay / Job Size

Cost of Delay = User-business value + Time criticality + Risk reduction-opportunity enablement value

Scale each parameter with Fibonacci row (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21).

How to choose a prioritization framework?

Not sure what to choose? Download our prioritization frameworks guide with questions, examples and useful links. Explore it in hi-res PNG, PDF or interactive Miro Board.