We often forget some tasks or do them poorly in the hustle-bustle of deadlines. The prioritization of tasks becomes one of the most critical aspects of product management. It helps to keep deadlines on track and provides the much-needed balance between speed and quality.
Prioritizing can be difficult, especially when you need to prioritize many tasks, but it doesn’t have to be that way!
There are various tools available today for prioritizing your tasks, making your life a lot easier.
In this article, we will discuss how prioritization works and some popular prioritization tools.
It will also help you know what type of prioritization s best for you.
What Is Prioritization?
Prioritization is a task organizing process. Here task items are ranked in order of urgency and importance to prioritize them. In product management, prioritization plays a crucial role in helping the teams decide what items to take next from the product backlog.
The prioritization of tasks is organizing and ranking functions in order of importance or urgency. This ranking system allows for a better understanding of what you need to do first and helps in meeting deadlines.
It can be challenging to prioritize when many tasks are at hand, but it becomes much easier by using the right tool.
What Are the Factors To Be Considered in Prioritization?
In agile development, teams use the prioritization order to select the features that will be beneficial to customers and the business.
The features they select to work on in an iteration depend on various prioritization factors.
We will consider the top five from the other prioritization strategies that product development teams use.
These prioritization factors can vary as per the industry, organization, teams and business models, and so on.
Factor No. 1: Know Your Customers
It is easier to choose budget-friendly features and easy to work on rather than going a step ahead and asking customers how it would benefit them.
Creating personas helps the development teams identify the customers’ challenges and motivating factors.
It will eventually lead to building products that will improve the customer experience.
Factor No. 2: Add Value to the Features
Most organizations spend time building features and hitting that end goal of output and not the outcome.
This phenomenon is what John Cutler, a product consultant, calls the feature factory. But it is essential to go beyond this feature factory of just churning out feature after feature.
For instance, suppose the goal of the product management team is to hit the 10,000 registrations on the website for that year.
The main agenda the product managers and the development team will have is to build a feature that will cater to the registration frame.
They will not focus on building other features that will benefit the customer since it is not the priority now.
Factor No. 3: Prioritize Small Features Over Big Ones!
Suppose a big truck moves on a road and blocks all the other cars behind it from moving ahead. If only that truck drove past and let others follow through, the traffic jam would not occur!
Similarly, suppose product managers and teams prioritize small features over the big ones. In that case, there are two benefits attached to this approach.
- Implementing costs will be less
- The cost of delay will be lower
Hence, realizing early on and prioritizing the small features will take the organization ahead.
Factor No. 4: Analyzing the Impact
Having and caring for the existing customer base is somehow giving back to your audiences.
Adding new features will bring in new users, which will benefit you in the short term.
But giving added advantages of being your customer and serving them with optimization of the existing features will only make them stay even further.
Retaining your customers must be on top of your prioritization order.
Factor No. 5: Plan Early On
As discussed previously, prioritizing high-risk backlog items will help your team reduce implementation and delay costs.
Product managers can maintain their backlogs in Chisel’s agile product management software and not worry about having to keep a mental note of everything!
What Prioritization Strategies Can Help You Arrange the Tasks?
Prioritization strategies refer to product development and management teams’ methods to finish their day-to-day tasks.
They can make lists and write down important and urgent tasks.
In short, we will now discuss various strategic prioritization frameworks.
Sean Covey created a popular project management tool like a priority matrix.
The purpose was to identify the most critical tasks successfully.
Design a matrix and assign tasks in each priority box. The columns are: urgent and important, not critical and essential, urgent and not necessary, and not urgent and not important.
Prioritize the tasks that fall into the category/ quadrant of urgent and essential. This prioritization order will help when you have a significant workload on your desk!
Product management tool like Chisel gives you the ‘Priority score’ in the ‘Alignment matrix.’ Through this score, you can prioritize your features in categories of ‘build immediate,’ ‘don’t build,’ and ‘needs more assessment.’
Giving Priority Numbers to Your Tasks
Number your tasks if you have some more functions in the urgent and vital quadrant, even after using the priority matrix.
For example, if there are 15 tasks on your to-do list, assign a number from 1 through 15.
Now sort them out by the time it will take for you to complete that task.
Consider splitting up larger chunks of work into smaller and achievable tasks.
One Thing at a Time
Getting overwhelmed with tasks can distract you from focusing on the main task.
Therefore focus on a single task at a time.
Maybe you are working on tasks such as increasing sales, focusing only on that work, and taking on the other tasks, later on, will surely help.
Break It Down
Create a master list with your daily, weekly, and monthly goals. For doing this, write down all your tasks for the next month.
Now go through that list and identify the importance and urgency of these tasks.
Finally, using prioritization tools, start working on those tasks that are the most important, smaller, and easier to complete.
The Ivy Lee Method of Prioritization
For the ivy lee method, you will have to sit down at the end of each workday and start jotting down all your tasks for the next working day.
Jot down the top six tasks that you want to prioritize. Rank your tasks in importance and number them from 1-to 6.
Next morning at work, start with the rank one tasks and complete them thoroughly before moving on to the next task.
This prioritization strategy helps to not multitasks and instead focus and complete one task. Therefore you will give all your attention to one task.
Say the ‘ABCDE’ Method
Sometimes all your tasks may seem to be urgent and essential. How do you prioritize then?
Brain Tracy has got a solution for that. The ABCDE prioritization method will allow you to add layers to your tasks and accordingly prioritize them.
Write A next to the highest priority tasks. Follow this up with B, which will have slightly less priority than A until you reach E.
Now give each task a priority number. For example, if a task has A1, you will start working on that first, follow this up with A2 tasks, and so on.
Two List Prioritization Strategy
Warren Buffet created a fun and beneficial prioritization strategy of two lists. Write down 25 long-term goals for your education, life, and career.
Now go through all the goals, mark the top 5 goals, and circle them. Add these five tasks to one list.
Create a new list with the title ‘avoid at all costs and write all the other 20 goals there. These 20 goals will most likely distract you from achieving your top 5 goals. Discard them for now!
Go With the Flow
It is important to pause when needed and work on the critical tasks at that moment.
People often continue working on some tasks because they have started the work and don’t feel like pausing. But sometimes, things might change, your supervisor may ask you to change priorities, and it is essential at such times to listen.
Going with the flow will help you prioritize the tasks that require your attention at that time and not fall prey to the sunk cost fallacy. It is the effect that pushes people to finish tasks they have started, irrespective of whether it brings in any results.
Early Bird or a Night Owl?
Humans are more energetic and have a greater attention span during certain day hours. This time characterization could be early morning hours for some and late evening hours for others.
Whatever that may be for you, select that time and schedule your tasks around it. These will help you focus on your tasks better and be more productive.
Why Is Prioritization Important for Productivity?
The answer to this question is simple- prioritizing leads to success. It becomes easier to identify the most important tasks and complete them first when you prioritize. This system saves time and ensures that you produce high-quality work.
Here Are Three Reasons Why Prioritization Is a Boon for Your Product Strategy:
More Efficiency, Less Stress.
With prioritization, you get a clear idea of what needs to be taken care of first. This clarity helps in time management and thus reduces stress levels.
Also, prioritizing allows you to focus on your tasks more efficiently.
It becomes easier for us to concentrate better when we know that what we are doing is of due importance.
Psychological research suggests that making a priority-based to-do list helps us reduce the stress of unforeseen tasks.
If a simple to-do list can have such a significant impact on our day, imagine the effect of prioritization on your product and strategy.
Additionally, prioritizing helps in better decision-making. It provides a clear view of what task you need to address immediately.
More Alignment, Less Conflict.
Very often, the goals of a business leader may not align with the purposes of the team leader handling a specific aspect of your product.
A successful product strategy involves aligning goals and ensuring everyone is on the same page. Teams can do this with prioritization.
A prioritization tool also works as a great way to align your team’s goals. You can set the same purpose for everyone visible on their computer screens or mobile phones, and they will be aware of what you all are working towards.
Doing this helps them understand how each feature contributes to achieving the ultimate goal faster!
More Time, Less Procrastination.
When we are aware that the task at hand is essential, it becomes easier for us to resist the temptation of procrastination.
That is because prioritization provides a sense of urgency.
Once you have finished prioritizing your tasks, you will know which one deserves your immediate attention and which can wait.
The feeling of being overwhelmed often leads to procrastination. However, we have an entire roadmap when we use prioritization tools for our product strategy.
Each person on the team knows the what-why-how-when of the product.
You have additional time that you had no clue about by the end. This time helps review your product and plan external strategies and succession plans. Or just more time for you to take a vacation in the Maldives!
Now that we’ve understood the why of prioritization, let’s get into it how.
Why Should You Choose Chisel for Prioritization?
While there are several tools to choose from, we want to give you an overview of the best in the market.
Here are the top 4 product management tools through a comparative pros and cons list.
Yes, you are on our page. But no, we’re not self-promoting. Here are the facts for you.
- A prioritized product roadmap in an interactive visual form
- Ability to align teams to each feature/epics in the prioritization process
- Easy product management using Kanban boards, backlogs, and workflows.
- Chisel also has an inbuilt integration feature with JIRA.
- Chisel is a paid tool with different packages available for purchase depending on your needs.
However, this isn’t as much of a con as an investment. See our free version here yourself!
JIRA is an excellent tool for tracking team goals and building revolutionary products. Millions of teams have chosen JIRA to plan, organize, track, report, and release tasks and progress data.
It also has a new mobile interface that helps your team get the tasks done on the go!
- JIRA is one of the most widely utilized prioritization tools and has a vast community.
You can relate to other’s experiences and learn how they prioritize their tasks effectively.
- Rated 4.2/5 on G2.com
- Affordable entry-level pricing
- The only con that came to our mind was that people might never consider using JIRA as their priority(pun intended).
And that is because of so many other prioritizing software available in the market.
If you’ve already made up your mind about our top 2 recommendations, you will love this integration software.
What Is 80/20 Prioritization?
The 80/20 prioritization tools are also called the Pareto principle. Economist Vilfredo Pareto introduced this concept 1900’s.
The theory came about when Pareto found that most of 80% of Italy’s wealth was in the hands of 20% of the population.
This principle states that 80 % of your outcome will come from 20% of your efforts in the task.
Some examples of priority setting for a business are:
- Most of 80% of the company’s sales come from 20% of your clients.
- While prioritizing work, you will focus on the further development of your top 20% of clients or look for new ones.
To summarize the 80/20 method, follow the steps below;
- Identify and write down your priorities.
- Now check for the 80/20 in those tasks.
- Plan out what work you will have to put in to produce the 20%. Don’t cut down on your work details. Focus on the tasks that matter the most.
Now that you know about the importance of prioritization and its various frameworks, you should get started today!
There are numerous tools to help you achieve success through your product.
Make sure you make prioritization a priority right away!