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So That Prioritization Spreadsheet…

Published: February 25, 2018

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Lots of organizations cook up homegrown prioritization spreadsheets.

Some brief thoughts on what your prioritization approach/tool SHOULD NOT DO

  • Ignore the “impact of time on outcomes” (see cost of delay)
  • Cause you to lose sight of product strategy/vision
  • Cannot be adapted to incorporate new learnings / data points. Model is inflexible to new insights, novel concepts
  • Obscure the operating assumptions underpinning the model
  • Be confusing or hard to understand for anyone in the business
  • Be biased to certain areas of the business
  • Cannot explain/model prior decisions and outcomes
  • Devalue certain “less measurable” causal relationships (e.g. UX, customer experience to bottom-line, etc.)
  • Undervalue low probability / high reward bets (or making progress against high reward bets)
  • Discourage a balanced portfolio of bets (e.g. only favors one type of risk profile)
  • Favor short term value vs. long term value creation (unless that is the desired effect, and is optimal for your situation)
  • Favor big batches, BDUF (big design upfront), waterfall
  • Rely on estimates vs. actual data for duration/effort (when available). Is too sensitive to changes in estimates
  • Encourage arbitrary scope changes (to game framework)
  • Discourage experimentation / purchasing information (value of info, efforts designed to reduce uncertainty)
  • Discourage conversation, challenging, building shared understanding
  • Conflate precision with accuracy
  • Ignore confidence intervals (convey false certainty). Coin flip guesses should not get equal weight as informed guesses. “A hunch” is a data point…use it appropriately