6 Steps to Prioritizing Your Business Requirements

Guide to easy and effective requirements prioritization

Step 1: Understand the Purpose & Strategy for Prioritization

  • What will you do with the prioritized items?
  • Prioritize to eliminate items, ensure alignment to objectives, plan scheduling, manage scope creep, etc
  • Identify items to prioritize

Step 2: List the Customer Needs

  • Select what factors the stakeholders feel are important in prioritizing the requirements
  • List the factors that drive the characteristics, scope and functionality of the software product
  • List the business benefits or objectives (cost savings, revenue impact, ease of use, utility, etc)
  • Determine the customer importance of each

Step 3: List the Requirements

  • List the Requirements, either individually, or by cluster (Activity, Function, etc)
  • Place as the columns
  • Use labels and numbers if cross-reference is helpful
  • If more than 20-30, separate and iterate

Step 4: Facilitate the Rating of the Need / Requirements Interrelationships

  • Potentially laborious task must be well facilitated
  • There are two options: 1) Pre-session survey; 2) In-session voting
  • Use chosen numerically assigned scales
  • Key Success Factors for need rating 
  1. Set-up – Get the right needs & requirements chosen (purpose-based)
  2. Involvement – Get the right stakeholders involved
  3. Facilitation – Skill as a facilitator
  4. Tools – Use the right methods and tools for voting 
  • Once completed, calculate the weighted importance rating for each column

Step 5: Determine Technical / Development Factors

  • Usually this is a separate session: Project Team and Technical SMEs
  • Estimate the resource and cost requirements
  • Typical factors are level of effort (or resource requirements), technical difficulty, and cost

Step 6: Determine the Priority Rating

  • Facilitate the priority rating for each column (requirement) based on the Importance Rating, and Technical / Development factors
  • Record earlier decisions made on ratings and scores allow for easier consensus and agreement, and more accurate and effective decisions based on agreed criteria and factors
  • Remember to reference, walkthrough, and review the requirements and specifications
  • Techniques: blind voting, statistical calculations, mapping, group discussions, group decision-making, 4 quadrant graph, or executive decision
  • Update the requirements document with the rating scores
  • As necessary, continue to determine the decisions on the requirement, the schedule and the responsibility

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