The Stepped Prioritization Method

Prioritization of work happens at multiple levels

When dealing with a diverse (multi-dimensional) stakeholder landscape, effective priorization requires a framework approach to balance the competing views.

The Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF) technique in Scaled Agile is designed to address this issue, and if your organisation is at that level of maturity, WSJF is an excellent choice.

However, if you have attended our product owner, project manager or business analysis workshops you will be also familiar with the stepped prioritization methods that we suggest for situations where the stakeholder group is still gaining understanding. 

This approach is more familiar to people, and has the advantage of being simpler to apply in its basic form, whilst still retaining the ability to cater for multiple dimensions in the way that WSJF does.

The checklist below is a aide-memoire for you when in meetings, that you can load to your phone and check off as you go.

If you want a refresher on this method, or to discuss a PM/PO/BA workshop you can contact us at or simply give our chief coach, Pete, a call on +64 21 186 8664



   Start with Why | Explain that by taking a structured approach to prioritzation we can arrive better at data driven outcomes.
   Identify | Brainstorm the key dimensions that people consider important, e.g Speed to Implement, Cost, Business Value etc.
   Choose  | Dot Vote on the dimensions - Most votes is X axis, next is Y axis, next is Y1, and so on...
   Prioritize  | X Axis |  Prioritize the cards by the X axis alone, paying no attention to other dimensions.
   Prioritize | Y Axis |  Now prioritize the cards by the Y axis alone, cards can only move up on down, not left or right
   Prioritize | Define |   Now rank the cards using concentric circles fom the top right hand corner
   Rinse | Repeat |  If desirable you can move the newly prioritised list to the X axis (which is now combined X & Y) and set Y axis to Y1 - repeat this as many times as you like
   Pin a tail on it |  Once you have completed all your desired dimensions, the result becomes your  ordered backlog