Prioritizing Agile epics, user stories, and backlogs is something contemporary product managers have to do on a regular basis.  The need to prioritize comes from a very simple fact: we just don’t have enough resources to work on everything we can come up with.  Over the years I and my teams have worked on hundreds of software releases.  I have used both old style waterfall techniques as well as today’s Agile techniques.

When it comes to prioritizing items for sprints or releases I have tended to use some variant of a weighted multi-factor prioritization scheme.  This typically involves identifying 3 to 7 key factors and weighing the relative importance of each factor to calculate an overall score.  The specific factors have varied between the different companies I have worked for.  Sometimes revenue retention was very important, other times it involved market or competitive parity.

In researching another topic I came across a great piece for Agile Product Owners by Daniel Zacarias entitled 20 Product Prioritization Techniques: A Map and Guided Tour.  The blog goes into great detail about 20 different techniques Product Owners can use to prioritize their backlogs.  It is a long read, but definitely worth it.

My interest in software metrics traces back to 1980s when I was just starting out in the application development world.  Here is a list of resources that shaped my early thinking about metrics and software quality.  If you would enjoy a trip down memory lane, check them out.

Topic Link
Fred Brooks’ Mythical Man Month
Barry Boehm’s COCOMO Model
Thomas McCabe’s Cyclomatic Complexity
Tom DeMarco’s Bang Metric
Allan Albrecht’s Function Points

By John Mecke

John is a 25 year veteran of the enterprise technology market. He has led six global product management organizations for three public companies and three private equity-backed firms. He played a key role in delivering a $115 million dividend for his private equity backers – a 2.8x return in less than three years. He has led five acquisitions for a total consideration of over $175 million. He has led eight divestitures for a total consideration of $24.5 million in cash. John regularly blogs about product management and mergers/acquisitions.