Agile Prioritization Techniques Explained

By Niveditha P

Last updated on Mar 16 2022

Agile Prioritization Techniques Explained

Introduction to Agile

In the early 2000s, a fraternity of software industry directors met in Snowbird, Utah, to introduce something new into the industry. And the term agile software development was coined. The main motive was to make things more flexible for software development and to act as a cover for the new methodologies.

Agile stands for its own various set of frameworks from management to modeling. Agile has its view set to develop and embrace software methodologies and techniques.

When we consider our goals we make sure that from start to end we plan and then demonstrate it in a proper way. When it comes to arranging things it is essential to understand and take further steps. Such is a topic which we are going to discuss.

Priorities in life and business play an important role. Sorting priorities in life and development is a must need activity. What is the task of priority in agile project management let's learn in detail,


What is the Agile Prioritization Technique?

Agile is an iterative approach to project management and software development. That helps teams in delivering faster and better value to the customers. And prioritization is set to provide work for the agile team.

Let us understand the agile prioritization process in detail,

Prioritization is a process by which a set of items are aligned in terms of importance. The main purpose of prioritization is to allocate resources to important projects of agile. It focuses on where and how to assign resources and start the work.

Setting priority is very important in project management. Prioritization techniques in agile involve four levels of priority to solve problems.

  • Urgent- Issues that need to be taken care of like a substantial loss, corruption in the essential part of the system, or issues faced by customers have to be addressed urgently.


  • High- Issues faced in the production system, functions within the system are disabled or facing the loss of service when using the development system is considered high.


  • Medium- Issues that are partial or non-critical that will not affect the usability of the software.


  • Low- issues like general information requests or usage of configurations are considered low.


The main goal of agile prioritization is to accomplish the work and deliver maximum business value on time.

While considering prioritization techniques it becomes important to understand and analyze the guidelines. Let us understand some of the criteria in a general way,

  • Simplicity: Simplest of techniques, helps faster to prioritize.
  • Data-driven prioritization: It mainly focuses to combine agile principles and data-driven outcomes, to align and set important work to the agile teams.
  • Feasibility: prioritization makes important and complicated tasks seem easier to the agile teams. By analyzing the technicality and managing the project to go in the right way.


  Read more about the Agile manifesto from Sprintzeal.


Importance of Agile Prioritization

Establishing priorities is necessary because it's important to give attention to main tasks. Later, you can focus on lower-priority tasks.

In agile, prioritization acts to decide in what order the agile team should work. As prioritization process helps the agile team to consider the necessary features to create customer value. It also makes sure that teams work simultaneously in analyzing project requirements.

Prioritization is important to organizations because prioritizing helps in,

  • Increasing the success rates of strategic projects.
  • Increases focus of senior management teams around strategic goals.
  • Doubts are cleared for the operational teams in terms of facing decisions.
  • And importantly builds an execution mindset and heritage.


Strategy is one of the key aspects of prioritization. Agile prioritization involves strategies for tasks to accomplish has planning, estimating, and allocation of time and work. So that value of work will be increased in a short amount of time.

Prioritization involves important requirements to assist the agile team in their tasks. It manages to provide the needed requirements and resources. Prioritization is an essential mechanism of agile development. That maximizes the value and the needs to be delivered to the clients and assists the changing requirements.

List of Agile Prioritization Techniques


The agile prioritization technique contains models for the development of a product. Let us understand each technique in detail,


Kano model

The Kano model was introduced by Prof. Noriaki Kano in the 1980s. Kano model is a theory that’s mainly used for product development and customer satisfaction.

In agile product development prioritization technique considers product feedback from users. Where the feedback will be used to assess the features and prioritize the essentials for the development of a product.

Kano model is categorized based on user satisfaction that has two main levels namely,

  • Satisfaction: It depends on the must-have features to make the customer delighted.
  • Dissatisfaction: It considers the feedback and disappointment from the customers.


 The model also considers two important factors that create an impact on customer satisfaction. The first main factor is the feasibility, where the level of prioritization and the degree of implementation makes an impact on satisfaction. The second factor focuses on the basic level of customer satisfaction. As some features lead to the basic level of needs to be fulfilled while others create more, where the motive becomes higher the implementation – greater the level of satisfaction.


MoSCoW Model

 An expert from the software company Oracle, named Dai Clegg invented the method MoSCoW. The method describes each requirement and makes it easier to prioritize.

MoSCoW model theory tells that, “prioritization technique used in management, business analysis, project management, and software development to have a common understanding with the stakeholders on the importance they place on delivery of each requirement”

MoSCoW agile technique represents four categories of initiatives,

  • Must-have: Mo in the name stands for must be. Where it tells to give the topmost priority the must needed necessities.


  • Should-have: the S in the name stands for should have. Where it features only the requirement that is highly needed or not that critical.


  • Could-have: the C in the name stands for could have. Where the priority is given to the requirement that will be good to have or the vice-versa.


  • Wont-have: the W stands for won't or will not have. That considers not having any requirements that will not work at that point in time.


MoSCoW models help to prioritize the important aspects in the first place. Where even agile product development considers the same as its main objective. So the theory tells us to consider the product requirements under M and S. And not feature any products under C and W has they don’t contain any priority and they are the delayed version for you to work on.


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Opportunity Scoring

Opportunity scoring is a highly effective prioritization technique strategy that can be used by any organization while developing agile products.

This agile prioritization method uses data from user research, to know about the expectations of the product that the user needs. It will be helpful to shape the product as per the user’s choice and solve the problems quickly according to user expectations.

Based on the feedback of the customers representing low and high satisfaction will open up opportunities to analyze the product. Where it will result to improve and feature a better product to the customers.


Stack Ranking

Stacking is necessary from programming till management. Well in the agile prioritization technique stack ranking is one of the best methods to use when rating product features and the ones that aren’t needed. And the catch in stack ranking is that one needs to determine and prioritize by comparing the features of products.

The main objective of this method is to understand the customer’s expectations towards the product. Where analysis of customer needs will help the agile team to prioritize and give better outcomes to the product.

Stack ranking is a product backlog prioritization technique, where it simplifies the process and provides a more accurate product to the customer. And one of the best applications of stack ranking is that it can be used in all kinds of products for development.


Priority Poker

Priority poker is a variation of planning poker; it was developed by James Grenning in 2002. Priority poker is a quick and easy design game for collective prioritizing items. It features goals, business objectives, usability issues, requirements, bugs, or any other things.

Priority poker in agile prioritization technique is derived from actual game cards. For example, when you are playing poker it is essential to prioritize the calculations and get things done right, which will result in getting a good outcome. Similarly, when playing priority poker in agile product development, one should prioritize the product that will lead to a massive victory in the market.

In priority planning poker all the agile team members should be involved and should equally contribute to the prioritization process by removing bias. So when making a decision not only the team even the stakeholders need to be involved. With the presence of the end-users (stakeholders) the outcome will be much more effective.


Cost of Delay

In general project management to calculate the cost of delay, one needs to simply estimate the value, a specific product would bring after launch. Cost delay is a key metric in management, where it combines urgency and value. Where it is used to understand the difference between not only how valuable the asset is and also how urgent it is to verify that.

Cost delay is one of the backlog prioritization techniques, acts as a model to determine the amount of money that is at stake to lose if some features are not available.

Here, the main focus is on the profit and loss happening in the company. So it becomes important to plan the budget and use the money precisely. By using a prioritization strategy the result would be financially and passionately justified.


100 Dollar Test

In this method of agile prioritization, participants assign relative value to a list of items by sending an imaginary $100 together. Here, to grab audience attention they use the concept of cash, as it grabs the attention of participants to be more engaged than an arbitrary point or ranking system.

This prioritization method can be used to prioritize items in a group environment. For example, this method can be combined with the MoSCoW model,

  • If the requirement or the products receives more profit like $800 in total: Must-have (Mo).
  • If the product will receive between $300 and $400 in total: Should-have(S).
  • If the requirement is between $100 and $200 in total: Could-have (Co).
  • If the requirement is between $100 and less in total: Wont-have (W).

This method shows how the market works and in certain situations how to handle the stakeholders. As it is important to understand the results and then make the required tuning through discussion.


Relative Weighting method

The relative weighting method is an agile prioritization matrix technique that considers the value and cost of a job. It intends to provide a priority order based on a weighted score between the two i.e. value and cost.

Here, value is determined through benefits where each organization may choose a theme that will be suitable for them to weigh. And the cost is determined by estimating the Fibonacci number based on a relative proxy for how long the job may take to develop.


RICE Method

RICE model is a prioritization framework designed to help product managers determine which products, features, and other initiatives to put on their roadmaps by getting these items according to four factors.

The four main factors are from the acronym RICE,

Reach: In the first factor of RICE prioritization is to estimate the reach. That is to calculate in the given timeframe how many people will the product or the requirement reach.

Impact: This factor depends on how many people will encounter the project. Where it is important to reach the audience and get feedback on the product. To that main objective is customer satisfaction.

Confidence: the confidence factor in RICE controls the data about how project scores in the market. Because confidence is what keeps the agile team going if the score or the ranking of the project will increase then the team will be more optimistic to work.

Effort: All the other factors in RICE act as numerators and effort represent as the denominator. In other words, a project takes a certain time for completion the efforts put in by team members for the creation are what make a massive impact.

In this method, the agile prioritization technique tells about how important it is to manage the project from start to end. From building confidence to putting efforts priorities need to be maintained.

Read in detail about Agile Project Management.


PMI ACP Certification



Overall, the agile prioritization technique teaches us to embrace and understand the necessities of a project. In each stage of the project, it becomes important to analyze what the customers (stakeholders) need. Prioritizing is not only the main objective of the project but also to accomplish the task in the given time to get better results and achieve the set goal.

The agile prioritization technique is a planning part of agile project management. Learn in detail about project management and get certified from PMI with Sprintzeal.

To get full details about Agile training courses offered by Sprintzeal and top agile certifications, reach us at Click Here or chat with course expert



About the Author

Sprintzeal   Niveditha P

Niveditha is a content writer at Sprintzeal. She enjoys creating fresh content pieces focused on the latest trends and updates in the E-learning domain.

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