How can you deliver maximum business value in a minimum time span?

June 9, 2014

How can you deliver maximum business value in a minimum time span?

The Scrum framework is driven by the goal of delivering maximum business value in a minimum time

span. One of the most effective tools for delivering the greatest value in the shortest amount of time is


Prioritizing can be defined as determining the order and separating what must be done now, from what

needs to be done later. The concept of prioritization is not new to project management. The traditional

Waterfall model of project management proposes using multiple task prioritization tools. From the

Project Manager’s point of view, prioritization is integral because certain tasks must be accomplished

first to expedite the development process and achieve the project goals. Some of the traditional

techniques of task prioritization include setting deadlines for delegated tasks and using prioritization


Scrum, however, uses value-based Prioritization is one of the core principles that drives the structure

and functionality of the entire Scrum framework – and helps projects benefit through adaptability and

iterative development of the product. More significantly, Scrum aims at delivering a valuable product to

the customer on an early and continuous basis.

Prioritization is done by the Product Owner when he/she prioritizes User Stories in the Prioritized

Product Backlog. The Prioritized Product Backlog contains a list of all the requirements needed to bring

the project to fruition.

Once the Product Owner has received the business requirements from the customer and written

these down in the form of workable User Stories, she or he works with the customer and sponsor to

understand which business requirements provide maximum business value. The Product Owner must

understand what the customer wants and values in order to arrange the Prioritized Product Backlog

Items (User Stories) by relative importance. Sometimes, a customer may mandate all User Stories to be

of high priority. While this might be true, even a list of high-priority User Stories needs to be prioritized

within the list itself. Prioritizing a backlog involves determining the criticality of each User Story.

High-value requirements are identified and moved to the top of the Prioritized Product Backlog. The

processes in which the principle of Value-based Prioritization is put into practice are Create Prioritized

Product Backlog and Groom Prioritized Product Backlog.

Simultaneously, the Product Owner must work with the Scrum Team to understand the project risks

and uncertainty as they may have negative consequences associated with them. This should be taken

into account while prioritizing User Stories on a value-based approach (refer to the Risk chapter for

more information). The Scrum Team also brings to the notice of the Product Owner any dependencies

that arise out of implementation. These dependencies must be taken into account during prioritization.

Prioritization may be based on a subjective estimate of the projected business value or profitability, or

it can be based on results and analysis of the market using tools including, but not limited to, customer

interviews, surveys, and financial models and analytical techniques.

The Product Owner has to translate the inputs and needs of the project stakeholders to create the

Prioritized Product Backlog. Hence while prioritizing the User Stories in the Prioritized Product Backlog,

the following three factors are considered:

1. Value

2. Risk or uncertainty

3. Dependencies

Thus prioritization results in deliverables that satisfies the requirements of the customer with the

objective of delivering the maximum business value in the least amount of time.


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