Creating a Prioritisation Agreement

What is a Prioritisation Agreement

This is one of the activities we did as a part of a project inception.  There was strong reason to do this because we had a team where individuals came together from different parts of a business, each with their own KPIs and only a light understanding of each other’s roles.

We needed an activity to get the team on the same page when it comes to deciding which piece of work to prioritise over another.  Building a prioritisation agreement upfront would save us unnecessary conflict at a later stage.  This is also a suitable activity to run during a team kick-off, as part of a team charter.

 

Example Prioritisation Agreement
Example Prioritisation Agreement

 

Who this Activity would Benefit

It’s highly recommended that the Product Owner be present, along with everyone else in the team.

Steps

  1. Break your team into groups of 2-3 to discuss their views on what criteria they’d consider when choosing to prioritise a piece of work over another.
  2. Re-group and get a spokesperson from each team to present back to the group.
  3. Get the group to dot vote on their favourite elements from each prioritisation agreement, and pull the top voted items into a common agreement.
  4. Ask the team if everyone agrees with the agreement.  If so, write up the agreement and lock it in stone.  If not, have a discussion, until an agreement is reached.

Guidelines

Keep the prioritisation agreement simple, with a maximum of 3 bullet points.  Use sprint planning as a litmus test.  Would you be able to easily rank the priority of one piece of work over the other within the timebox of a sprint planning session?

 

For more tips on prioritisation during and around sprint planning, check out our other article here.

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