Agile Prioritization Techniques (From MoSCoW to Kano Model) You Must know in 2022 (2023)

Prioritization is one of the major concepts of agile practices and an essential topic for PMI-ACP certification exam preparation towards achieving an agile certification. Prioritization in literary terms means the decision of arranging things in order of their importance. Prioritization in agile is the act of deciding in what order the agile team will work on the requirements in a project. Understanding prioritization is essential for all projects, but it becomes specifically critical in agile as an agile project is time-boxed with a fixed set of resources which requires prioritization in order to accommodate the time and budget constraints. Further prioritization process helps the agile team to consider the bare minimum features necessary to create customer value. In order to process agile prioritization, it is essential to understand the factors that a product owner needs to consider before determining the priorities.

Below are a few of the most important factors.

8 Popular Prioritization Techniques

  1. MoSCoW prioritization – popularized by the DSDM methodology.
  2. Kano model – introduced by Prof. Noriaki Kano
  3. The relative weighting method – by Karl Wiegers
  4. Opportunity Scoring
  5. Stack Ranking
  6. Priority Poker
  7. Cost of Delay
  8. 100 Dollar Test

MoSCoW Agile Prioritization Technique

MoSCoW Prioritization in Agile: In the DSDM methodology, the priorities are expressed as per the MoSCoW model:

  • Must– The must requirements is given the topmost priority
  • Should– Next priority is given to the requirements that are highly desirable, though not mandatory
  • Could– The next priority is given to the requirement that is nice to have
  • Won't– And the final consideration is given to the requirements which will not work in the process at that point of time.

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Kano Model of Prioritization in Agile

Professor Noriaki Kano propagated Kano Model of Prioritization. This prioritization technique involves three levels that include considering customer satisfaction from disappointment to not happy to immediate happiness to get delighted. Two important factors that create an impact on the satisfaction level during this prioritization are the existence of features and the degree of implementation. The level of satisfaction is achieved along with full implementation. Some features lead to a basic level of satisfaction while others create more – the higher the implementation, the greater the level of satisfaction.

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Agile Prioritization Techniques (From MoSCoW to Kano Model) You Must know in 2022 (1)

Relative Weighting Prioritization Technique

The relative weighting scheme is a simple model where prioritization is done based upon all the factors mentioned above. The major factors considered in relative weighing prioritization technique are:

  • The value of a feature and the negative impact that might be caused by the absence of the feature
  • Based on the expert judgment made by the product owner and supported by the agile team in ranking the score of features in the following way (a scoreboard from 1 to 9 is usually used)
    • Benefit from having the feature
    • Penalty for not having the feature
    • Cost of producing the feature
    • The risk incurred in producing the feature
  • The priority and rank are then determined by dividing the value score as below:
    • (Benefit score + Penalty score) / (Cost score + Risk score)

In relative weighting prioritization, if the results come out in numerical value, it becomes easier for the product owner to arrive at a faster prioritizing decision.

Opportunity Scoring

Opportunity Scoring is a beneficial prioritization method used by organizations to develop agile products. This prioritization model uses data from market research to help determine what the users expect from your product or service. It allows organizations to create the schedule according to their target audience’s wants and needs.

The model also helps companies modify or readjust their schedules and budgets to accommodate their customer’s expectations. They can also highlight priority features that their customers are interested in, and weed out features that they would have instead spent money and time on.

(Video) How to prioritise using MOSCOW prioritisation - Agile Project Management

Stack Ranking

Stack Ranking is one of the most popular forms of prioritization techniques that is currently used by a lot of software companies. It is also one of the easiest techniques that allow prioritization based on the user story.

The technique considers each user story and then places it in an order of priority, ranking each task from the most important placed on the top of the tack to the least important placed on the bottom. This gives the company a setlist of priorities focusing on the most important feature to the least.

Priority Poker

This agile priority technique is based on similar rules as actual poker played with cards. When playing poker, prioritization is done in a calculative manner, with big wins being the ultimate goal. Similarly, in agile priority poker, items that will yield the highest results in specific target markets are given priority.

How are high priority items determined? Well, the project manager gathers all stakeholders of the project, which can also sometimes include end-users. The stakeholders are then asked to assign priority to each task or feature that is scheduled. The answers and then moderated and the list of priorities are compiled based on the rankings of the stakeholders.

Cost of Delay

The objective of this prioritization technique is to understand how much money would the organization lose if a certain feature is not available. This prioritization focuses on monetary loss to understand which features are the most important and the list is created accordingly. It is a proactive approach to ensure the manager fight fires and deal with emergencies that can result in losses.

(Video) Top 4 Prioritization techniques in Product Management explained simply

By determining how much money the company loses each day by delaying a feature or task, the manager can determine the urgency of the task. This can easily help create the schedule and budget for each feature. This technique is financially motivated and does not account for user experience or customer satisfaction.

100 Dollar Test

This technique is also known as Cumulative Voting and is a straightforward process. It is similar to the poker technique but each stakeholder is given 100 points or dollars to assign to each feature or task.

The stakeholders divide their 100 dollars by assigning a spending amount to each feature. Once all the 100 dollars are spent, the moderator then tallies all the points and the feature with the most dollars assigned is given the highest priority, followed by tasks with the next highest amounts.

This is one of the easiest and the most effective techniques to ensure that all the stakeholders are in agreement with the priority list.

Using all these three techniques, a product owner performs the prioritization exercise towards achieving customer satisfaction and customer value. The whole process of prioritization in agile is followed in order to create customer value, which is possible with innovation, focused execution, and lean delivery. You can learn more about agile prioritization and project management in our extensive Post Graduate Program in Project Management.

(Video) Kano Model Basics | Definition, Overview, and Best Practices


What are the prioritization techniques in Agile? ›

8 Popular Prioritization Techniques
  • MoSCoW prioritization – popularized by the DSDM methodology.
  • Kano model – introduced by Prof. Noriaki Kano.
  • The relative weighting method – by Karl Wiegers.
  • Opportunity Scoring.
  • Stack Ranking.
  • Priority Poker.
  • Cost of Delay.
  • 100 Dollar Test.
Jan 8, 2023

What is the difference between Kano and MoSCoW model? ›

The MoSCoW category often is the priority and, since it's owned by the product owner, has product-driven perspective. The Kano model categorization, on the other hand, based more on input from product management, sales, competition analysis, etcetera, has a market-driven perspective.

What is MoSCoW prioritization techniques? ›

MoSCoW prioritization, also known as the MoSCoW method or MoSCoW analysis, is a popular prioritization technique for managing requirements. The acronym MoSCoW represents four categories of initiatives: must-have, should-have, could-have, and won't-have, or will not have right now.

What are the 4 P's of prioritization? ›

The 4 P's: prioritizing, pacing, planning, and positioning - provide four different paths to help you effectively manage and navigate persistent pain in your everyday life.

What are 3 ways to prioritize? ›

Consider the following three ways to help you better organize your workday:
  • Identify what you need to do, should do and want to do. Focus first on the tasks you must do that day. ...
  • Recognize your most productive time of day. Reflect on the time of day you find that you are routinely most productive.
Jan 24, 2022

What is agile MoSCoW method? ›

It's based on the agile method of project management, which aims to strictly establish factors like the cost of a product, quality, and requirements as early as possible. “MoSCoW” is an acronym for must-have, should-have, could-have, and won't-have, each denoting a category of prioritization.

What is the 5 priorities model for? ›

What's the Purpose of the 5 Priorities Model? The 5 Priorities Model helps individuals and organisations focus their energy and resources to maximum effect. It does this by picking out and focusing on priorities that need to be done first. Five is a handy number for people to remember.

What are the 3 needs addressed by the Kano Model? ›

Noriaki Kano isolated and identified three levels of customer expectations: that is, what it takes to positively impact customer satisfaction. The figure below portrays the three levels of need: expected, normal, and exciting.

What are the key concepts of Kano Model? ›

The Kano Model incorporates five categories: basic, performance/satisfiers, excitement/delighters, indifferent attributes, reverse attributes. Each of these has its own degree of importance to users. A product which lacks certain basic features could suffer from reduced functionality and irritate users.

What are the must haves in Kano Model? ›

What Dr Nariaki Kano believed was that there were three factors or categories essential to all product/services designs that product teams need to consider. These factors are made up of Basic, Satisfiers, and Delighter's.

What is MoSCoW prioritization method template? ›

What is the MoSCoW prioritization exercise? Use the MoSCoW template to prioritize items, like features, by classifying them as Must, Should, Could, and Won't. This simple prioritization method quickly aligns individuals & teams, and prompts discussions where there are different points of view.

What are the top 3 priorities? ›

What Are The Top 7 Priorities To Have In Life?
  1. Your Life Mission. Your life missions are priorities that give you meaning and happiness. ...
  2. Physical Health. Your health is highly crucial and should be first on your list of priorities. ...
  3. Quality Time With Family. ...
  4. Healthy Relationships. ...
  5. Mental Health. ...
  6. Finances. ...
  7. Self-Improvement.

What is the most important step in prioritizing? ›

The first step in prioritizing goals is to identify what is important to you and in what order. This step is crucial because it will help you focus and work towards something you feel passionate about whilst being confident you are working on the right thing at the right time.

What are the top 5 priorities? ›

Top 5 Things To Prioritize In Life | Empty Whole
  1. Health.
  2. Family + Relationships.
  3. Self-Improvement.
  4. Money.
  5. Balance.

How do you answer prioritization interview questions? ›

How to answer the job interview question “How do you prioritize your work?”
  1. Answer option 1: Tell them about your typical day. Explain to the hiring manager how you manage your daily workload. ...
  2. Answer option 2: Talk about how you prioritize under pressure. ...
  3. Answer option 3: Talk about how you maintain a work/life balance.

What should I prioritize first? ›

Prioritization should be flexible, as you may need to interrupt low-priority tasks for urgent must-dos.
  • Have a list that contains all tasks in one. ...
  • Identify what's important: Understanding your true goals. ...
  • Highlight what's urgent. ...
  • Prioritize tasks based on importance and urgency. ...
  • Avoid competing priorities. ...
  • Consider effort.
Feb 6, 2020

What are the 4 principles of agile? ›

The four Agile Manifesto values are:
  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools. ...
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation. ...
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation. ...
  • Responding to change over following a plan.
Mar 18, 2022

What are the 3 C's in an agile story? ›

These 3 C's are Cards, Conversation, and Confirmation. These are essential components for writing a good User Story. The Card, Conversation, and Confirmation model was introduced by Ron Jefferies in 2001 for Extreme Programming (XP) and is suitable even today. So, let us examine these 3 C's for writing User Stories.

What are the 5 principles of agile? ›

The Key Values and Principles of the Agile Manifesto
  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation.
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation.
  • Responding to change over following a plan.

What are the key priorities? ›

If something is a priority, it is the most important thing you have to do or deal with, or must be done or dealt with before everything else you have to do.

What are the three levels of priorities for tasks? ›

3 Ways to Prioritize
  • QUADRANT 1: Important + Urgent. ...
  • QUADRANT 2: Important + Not-Urgent. ...
  • QUADRANT 3: Not Important + Urgent. ...
  • QUADRANT 4: Not Important + Not Urgent.

How do you identify strategic priorities? ›

How to create strategic priorities in a strategic plan
  1. Gather your background information. ...
  2. Understand objectives, resources and timing. ...
  3. Know your priority level. ...
  4. Look forward. ...
  5. Address key components. ...
  6. Limit the number of priorities. ...
  7. Provide real guidance. ...
  8. Align your goals.
Mar 15, 2021

What is the main objective of the Kano Model? ›

The main objective of the kano model is to enhance the productivity and quality of the development process by providing all the data and information needed to define priorities in the product life cycle.

What is an example of Kano Model? ›

Kano model examples: One-dimensional requirements: The tastier the food, the more satisfied the customer. The more economical, the more satisfaction a car will bring to the customer. Comfort is directly proportional to customer satisfaction.

Which one is the most appropriate answer defining Kano analysis? ›

The kano Model identifies the three level of needs or customer expectations: expected (musts), normal (Wants), and exciting (Wows). Expected Needs allows a company to get into the market. Satisfying Normal needs allows a company to remain in the market.

What are the main 3 groups of product characteristics according to Kano? ›

The Kano Model of Customer satisfaction (Figure 1) divides product attributes into three categories: threshold, performance, and excitement. A competitive product meets basic attributes, maximises performances attributes, and includes as many “excitement” attributes as possible at a cost the market can bear.

How do you explain Kano analysis? ›

The Kano Model is an analysis tool to explore and measure customer needs. It's a way to identify the basic needs of customers, as well as performance and excitement requirements. This model is based on the view that functionality is not the only measure of how 'good' a product.

What is the basis for Kano classification of requirements? ›

The Kano model addresses the three types of requirements: Satisfying basic needs: Allows a company to get into the market. Satisfying performance needs: Allows a company to remain in the market. Satisfying excitement needs: Allows a company to excel, to be world class.

How would you prioritize the order in which you handle? ›

Prioritization should be flexible, as you may need to interrupt low-priority tasks for urgent must-dos.
  1. Have a list that contains all tasks in one. ...
  2. Identify what's important: Understanding your true goals. ...
  3. Highlight what's urgent. ...
  4. Prioritize tasks based on importance and urgency. ...
  5. Avoid competing priorities. ...
  6. Consider effort.
Feb 6, 2020

Which method is used for prioritizing? ›

Weighted scoring model

This prioritization method is used to weigh decisions by attributing a numerical score to each one of the actions and/or features. Once you list the initiatives, you need to give them a score, comparing effort versus value. This way, you'll be able to make objective decisions.

Does Kano help prioritize the backlog? ›

Kano model basically classifies customer preferences into five categories for customer satisfaction. This is one of the most popularly used product backlog prioritization technique.

How do you set prioritization? ›

How to set priorities
  1. Create a list of tasks. ...
  2. Rank your tasks. ...
  3. Allocate time requirements for each task. ...
  4. Use a schedule for your day's priorities. ...
  5. Know when to remove tasks from your to-do list. ...
  6. Plan for the unexpected. ...
  7. Be realistic. ...
  8. Think backward.
Aug 11, 2021

How do you answer a priority question? ›

How to answer "How do you prioritize your work?"
  1. Describe how you schedule your day. ...
  2. Explain how you shift between priorities. ...
  3. Discuss how you set your deadlines. ...
  4. Tell how you maintain work-life balance. ...
  5. Connect your answer to the job requirements.
Apr 3, 2020


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