FRIDAY FEATURE FOCUS – Prioritize Backlog with WSJF
What is WSJF?
Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF) is a prioritization method popularized by Donald G. Reinertsen. WSJF is used to sequence work to maximize economic benefit. It is calculated as the cost of delay divided by job duration or job size.
What is CoD?
Cost of Delay (CoD) is the penalty of missing a window of opportunity. Programs and projects are embarked upon to deliver business benefits which might be, for example, revenue gained from the sales of a product or operational efficiency resulting in reduced operating costs. Each month or quarter that you delay the delivery of the benefit, you incur a “Cost” of a month’s or a quarter’s worth of that benefit.
Cost of Delay is calculated based on 3 values in ValidateMyApp. The values are defined by the product owner working with the business stakeholders. Each value is represented as a normalized Fibonacci sequence.
- Business Value
- Time Criticality
- Risk Rating
Don Reinertsen’s, Principles of Product Development Flow includes in-depth coverage of Cost of Delay for those interested in learning more.
What is Job Duration?
In validateMyApp, we use Job Size as a proxy for Job Duration. Job size is a relative estimation and is defined using the same normalized Fibonacci sequence as used in calculating the CoD.
How are these concepts used?
|Same Job Size||If there are multiple items with the same job size, work on the item with the highest cost of delay first.|
|Same CoD||If there are multiple items with the same CoD, work on the shortest job first.|
|Variable Job Size and CoD||If there is variability in Job Size and CoD, work on the weighted shortest job first.|
The values necessary to calculate WSJF, CoD, and Job Size, are defined on backlog items within ValidateMyApp. Populating the job size, business value, time criticality, and risk rating during planning sessions will ensure that the WSJF and CoD are calculated and can be used to prioritize the backlog.
Here’s Why it Matters!
David Hussman’s “Dude’s Law” (Value = Why? / How?)
The concepts discussed above are aligned with Dude’s Law and they help teams overcome their tendency to focus on how a benefit is delivered and redirects attention to why the benefit is needed. Focusing on why will provide a better understanding of what to expect which can result in reducing how you will achieve the benefit and increase value.
Want to learn more?
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