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How to priortize allthethings when most of the work is requests from other departments?

Hi, I'm planning to run the prioritizing all the things play for a department that is mostly designed to serve other departments. They do have their own North Star and want to get out of a reactive mode. Any advice? Will this play work for that use case? 


1 answer

Hi Maria,

I work on a team like that. We don't have any easy answers for this, so I'd love to hear what you come up with.

We look at these elements to assign a score:

  1. Is this a new thing someone wants (0), or is something broken right now (5)?
  2. Is the requested item for internal consumption (0) or customer-facing (5)?
  3. Does the requestor believe the item is urgent, or low priority (0-5)?
  4. How impactful is the request (1 person, 1 team, whole company (0-5)?
  5. How long has this request been here in weeks (1-8)?

We use ScriptRunner to calculate a Triage Score from Jira Priority plus our other custom fields and display that number in a field, with a possible range of 1-28.

A ScriptRunner service runs each week and adds points to open issues as they age, so that old items eventually get some priority even if they are otherwise considered low value.

We also display the Triage Score as a word in a colored lozenge in another scripted field, so nobody has to wonder what the numeric score means (including the completely non-technical person who was born yesterday and started working with us today).

We never, ever move our agile cards or otherwise use the ranking function, so that we always see issues displayed in creation order.

We use a swimlane to move the highest scoring items to the top of the kanban board, to be worked on right now. If we have an item we can't work on, we move it to a Waiting status until the resource/system/license/whatever becomes available.

For all others, after we complete the highest priority work, we address the oldest item in the next highest priority, which is totally obvious as we display the lozenges on the agile cards, which are already in date order.

We use a dashboard with several issue gadgets for our weekly review meeting, so we can see new issues to be triaged, waiting issues which might need a followup message or similar, oldest issues which should either get some love or be closed as Won't Do, and other work in various categories ordered by the numeric Triage Score.

We are still far from perfection, but this seems to be working OK for the moment.

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