Most software development companies in USA are using the types of prioritization methods highlighted in this article to transform Agile product development.
What is agile product development?
The Agile methodology is an iterative approach to product development that is performed in a collaborative environment by self-organizing teams. Furthermore, the methodology produces high-quality software in a cost-effective and timely manner to meet stakeholders’ changing needs.
What is Prioritization?
To prioritize means “to organize (things) so that the most important thing is done or dealt with first.” Sometimes this involves organizing a group of tasks, or things that need to be completed, and ranking them according to different factors including but not limited to, criticalness, whether or not it is time sensitive, and how long it takes to complete each one. This helps us determine what should be focused on to achieve maximum productivity and accomplish more. The best custom software development companies like 5280 Software LLC can help you prioritize your needs and goals of the project.
It seems as there are two common ways of looking at prioritization:
- In regards to what should be done first when you have a lot of tasks to complete.
- In regards to time management, as you prioritize throughout the day to make sure you have time for everything. This is similar to a student who says they do not have enough time to go to school, do homework, eat, sleep, exercise, socialize, etc. who is told to prioritize in order to do it all effectively. Outsourcing custom software development can help you free up you and your employees’ time.
Why Prioritization is Important?
Establishing priorities is necessary in order to complete everything that needs to be done. Prioritization is important because it with allow you to give your attention to tasks that are important and urgent so that you can later focus on lower priority tasks.
If you do not take the time to prioritize, then you will have trouble getting things done on time, stress about how you will finish everything on your to-do list, and not be productive.
Think of it this way. Everybody has things that need to be done. Often, people keep track everything that they have to do by creating a list. While, a list can be effective to see a bird’s eye view of you need to take those items and figure out what you need to focus on NOW in order to get things done, work efficiently, and save time and energy. The right software development company will establish development priorities to make sure your project is completed on time and within the budget. 5280 Software LLC handles the entire-life cycle of your software development project.
Prioritization in Agile
Prioritization in literary terms means the decision of arranging things in order of their importance.
Prioritization in agile is the act of deciding in what order the agile team will work on the requirements in a project. Understanding prioritization is essential for all projects, but it becomes specifically critical in agile as an agile project is time-boxed with a fixed set of resources which requires prioritization in order to accommodate the time and budget constraints. Further prioritization process helps the agile team to consider the bare minimum features necessary to create customer value. In order to process agile prioritization, it is essential to understand the factors that a product owner needs to consider before determining the priorities. Below are a few of the most important factors.
- the financial value of the requirements is a major factor to be considered in prioritizing requirements. The value could be expressed as new revenue, incremental revenue, or as operational efficiency.
- The cost of developing the requirements is another essential factor to be considered by the product owner. Value and cost together indicate the RoIe for the requirements.
- The next factor to be considered in prioritization is the amount and significance of knowledge and capabilities that the team will gain while working on the requirements.
- Understanding the level of risks involved in introducing the new features is essential in the process of prioritization.
Popular Prioritization Techniques
1. MoSCoW Prioritization:
MoSCoW Prioritization in Agile: In the DSDM methodology, the priorities are expressed as per the MoSCoW model:
- Must– The must requirements are given the topmost priority
- Should– Next priority is given to the requirements that are highly desirable, though not mandatory
- Could– The next priority is given to the requirement that is nice to have
- Won’t– And the final consideration is given to the requirements which will not work in the process at that point of time.
Pros of MoSCoW prioritization
Given such operational friendliness, the benefits of MoSCoW prioritization are quite obvious. Top software companies like 5280 Software LLC often utilize MoSCoW prioritization.
- Simplicity. The MoSCoW method doesn’t require deep understanding or complicated calculations. So, it’s easy for a team to keep in line with the whole prioritization process using a simple language. This promotes mutual understanding between team and stakeholders. Scheduling with MoSCoW is fast and transparent. Our software development agency makes transparency a priority and we make sure communication is frequent during your project.
- Agility for scheduling and implementation. Since this prioritization method has no strict time limits, except for the Must-have category, it allows for changing suitable timeframes per feature. That way, a team can adjust feature deliveries or releases on favorable terms.
Cons of the MoSCoW approach
With such simplicity come some challenges.
- Lacks a clear consistency of implementation. Though the priorities may be easily set, the MoSCoW method does not introduce any sequencing of tasks and lacks planning. At the end of the day, it might put the entire release at risk.
- Lack of big picture focus. With MoSCoW suggesting the most-to-least critical requirements or features, the stakeholders still might not see a full picture of priorities. If the focus must be concentrated on key features that are important for a business; MoSCoW may mislead the team. So, the stakeholders have to allocate business goals by themselves.
- Creates imbalance between the required and slightly desirable. Often, the blurred lines between categories make it hard to decide on features that go into, say, Must and Should lists. That’s why floating tasks between all categories should be approached with great thought and care. Many United States software companies utilize MoSCoW.
When to use MoSCoW?
The MoSCoW method is simple but it’s not always effective. For instance, if you have a complicated backlog with many time-sensitive releases, consider choosing other methods or complementing MoSCoW with 2 or 3 more comprehensive approaches.
On the other hand, it’s quite reasonable to use MoSCoW with small products that don’t have many technical limitations and dependencies. Custom software solution we offer like a custom QuickBooks mobile app are often smaller products that can use MoSCoW.
2. Kano model:
Kano Analysis (or the Kano model) informs regarding product features which are perceived to be most important to customers. This method was created by Dr. Noriaki Kano and focuses on differentiating product features, as opposed to focusing initially on customer needs. Your company’s software development project may require you to focus on the needs of the customers who will utilize your software.
Pros and cons of the Kano model:
- Highlighting the potential strengths and weaknesses of a product. One of the most valuable features of the Kano model is user feedback. The results of the Kano questionnaire help realize the future product’s advantages and disadvantages. It allows product managers to specify the product/market fit early in development.
- Ranking product features by their value for customers. The Kano model helps rate the product properties from the value proposition standpoint and tailor it to user needs. A proper product development company like 5280 Software LLC can help you identify the most important things customers value.
- Provides no details on resources required. Although the Kano model gives a more comprehensive picture on how to establish the priorities from the customer vantage point, it doesn’t account for time and costs that are necessary for a given release or a particular feature. Enterprise software development can at times be affected using this method as the requirements are usually substantial in an enterprise project.
- Time-consuming practice. Since the Kano model originally involves the Kano survey – which may target a lot of potential customers – the efforts to process and estimate the results might be quite significant. It slows down the time-to-market and, consequently, distracts the team from execution. Make sure your potential software development service provider can assist with creating these Kano surveys.
- Restricted by customers’ opinion and knowledge. Given that the Kano model appreciates the level of customer satisfaction, it still has pitfalls from the other side: The backlog may introduce a plain Wishlist and be limited to expectations of customers who have no technical background. This caveat can lead to unstable releases. To make Kano efficient, you have to discuss the technical concepts separately.
When to use the Kano Model.
If you are a startup striving to generate user feedback for the initial UX design, it will be quite efficient to submit your concept in tandem with the Kano survey. Given that it’s always better to demonstrate than describe, the combination of a prototype and the questionnaire will help distill the value. 5280 Software LLC can help build your survey to have the best software development project results. But if your product entails technical complexity and various hidden blockers, you should balance Kano or completely substitute it with more specific methods.
3. The Relative Weighting Prioritization Technique:
The relative weighting scheme is a simple model where prioritization is done based upon all the factors mentioned above. A new custom software integration can sometimes use this simple method. The major factors considered in relative weighing prioritization technique are:
The value of a feature and the negative impact that might be caused by the absence of the feature.
In relative weighting prioritization, if the results come out in numerical value, it becomes easier for the product owner to arrive at a faster prioritizing decision. Using all these three techniques, a product owner performs the prioritization exercise towards achieving customer satisfaction and customer value.
The whole process of prioritization in agile is followed in order to create customer value, which is possible with innovation, focused execution, and lean delivery.
What are the benefits of prioritization techniques in line with product software development?
- Less rework.
- Fewer defects in requirements and in the delivered product.
- Fewer unnecessary functions.
- Faster development.
- Higher customer and developer satisfaction.
- Reducing the expectation gap.
As you may have noticed, it’s a bad idea to think that any prioritization approach is suitable for every single product or company. In a nutshell, there are few different sets of methods that fall within the particular categories of products.
There is much debate about the merits of the three different product development methodologies, moSCOW, Kano model and Relative weighting. In the end, it is up to your organization to choose the most appropriate method. Top software developers like 5280 Software LLC can help guide you in the best prioritization technique for your project.
About 5280 Software LLC:
5280 Software LLC, located in Denver, Colorado is a premier software development firm. We have worked with a variety of clients over the years. Our expert team of developers have helped many small to medium sized businesses. We also work with startups, as well as enterprise level clients such as RingCentral. Our custom software development services are tailored to solve whatever challenges your business is facing.
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