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Prioritization Techniques in Project Management

What Are Prioritization Techniques?

Techniques for prioritizing a list of tasks or activities are known as prioritization techniques. The purpose of these techniques is to boost your productivity by assisting you in defining and managing your top objectives. Why? To remain one step ahead of the uncertainty in your personal and professional settings.

There are numerous models with unique features that might be beneficial for the situation you’re in. The only thing you need to do is evaluate each method and implement the most appropriate one. If you conform to the chosen technique carefully, you will be able to precisely manage your tasks.

Why Are Prioritization Techniques Important?

Techniques for effective prioritization are essential to the success of any undertaking. It ensures that the project focuses on the most vital components first. A well-structured set of requirements will also guarantee that engineers, developers, and database analysts manage the project’s primary aspects in accordance with business objectives. 

Factors That Influence the Prioritization Techniques

According to the business analyst’s manual, the following factors appear to influence prioritization techniques.

1. Benefit

This is the benefit that will accrue to the company if a particular need is met first and foremost. This benefit is meeting a certain demand in terms of capability, quality, price, time, and supplies being applied in the most efficient manner to achieve the organizational goals.

2. Penalty

A penalty is the disadvantage or consequence of excluding to comply with a requirement. Consequently, the penalty that project teams and stakeholders must incur is a decisive factor in the prioritization of project requirements. Inadequate client satisfaction, waste or overspending of project resources, and product usability may all result in penalties.

3. Risk

The risk is whether or not the requirement will produce the anticipated value. There are numerous reasons why requirements can fail to be fulfilled, such as difficulties in comprehending the requirement, carrying out the requirement’s responsibilities, or implementing the need.

4. Dependencies

A dependency is a relationship between two requirements in which one cannot be met or carried out effectively without the other. Before starting requirements prioritization, a requirements dependency map is required.

5. Time Sensitivity

When prioritizing requirements, time constraints are typically the most essential factor to consider. Some requirements are so imperative that their implementation must precede that of others. This is particularly true for initiatives and products that must accommodate seasonal demand. In such circumstances, meeting specific requirements by a given date or time is essential.

6. Stability

This is the probability that a requirement will remain constant and static in determining their priority. In order to minimize recurrence, revision, and resources and time waste, less importance is given to requirements that are unstable or whose definitions change frequently.

7. Policy Compliance

Certain requirements must be met for a business or its stakeholders to achieve regulatory or policy compliance. Policy compliance refers to an organization’s day-to-day adherence to laws, trade regulations, and other company requirements.

Prioritization Techniques With Pros & Cons

1. RICE Score Model

It’s a scoring system that helps you define priorities and consider every aspect of a project you’re working on. RICE, which stands for Reach, Impact, Confidence, and Effort, is a commonly used acronym among project management teams.

How To Calculate RICE Score

RICE SCORE = (Reach * Impact * Confidence) / Effort

Reach is the measurement of the number of individuals/events per a timeframe. Reach-factor aims to estimate how many individuals each feature or project will influence within a given time frame and how many customers will observe the changes.

Impact indicates the contribution of the feature to the product. Every product has its own unique definition of value. For a SaaS product, features have a high Value if they enhance the trial-to-paid conversion, help attract new use

Confidence is measured with a percentage scale. If you believe a project could have a significant impact but lack supporting data, certainty allows you to control that. 100 indicates strong confidence, 80 medium, and 50 low.

Effort estimates the entire period of time a feature will require from all team members to move quickly and with minimal effort. Depending on the requirements, the effort-factor is estimated as a number of “person-months,” weeks, or hours. It is the quantity of work that one team member can complete in the course of one month.

  • Months: 5N (number of) individuals
  • A few weeks: 4N individuals 
  • One week: 3N individuals 
  • Few days: 2N individuals 
  • One day or less: 1N number of individuals 


  • As a project manager, you will be far more agile and well-informed when making decisions, and you will know what to do first to have the greatest impact.


  • On the other hand, this method is extremely time-consuming, and there is not always a great deal of data for each product. 

2. ICE Score Model

The ICE score model enables you to prioritize the product’s attributes without any extra requirements. 

How To Calculate ICE Score

You have to determine the score for each one using the following formula:

ICE SCORE = Ease * Impact * Confidence

Impact indicates the degree to which your hypothesis influences the main metric you are attempting to improve.

Confidence is the certainty with which you make all estimates.

Ease indicates the relative ease of implementation. It is an estimate of the time and resources necessary to implement this concept.

These values are ordered on a relative scale from 1 to 10 so that none of them are overemphasized. Choose a scale of 1–10 as long as the rating remains consistent.


  • ICE prevents you from becoming too bogged down in attempting to fine-tune your score. According to numerous experts, the procedure is adequate for completing the task.


  • If distinct individuals evaluate a feature, each will assign it a unique score.
  • Team members who desired their features to be prioritized could manipulate scores to obtain approval for their features.

3. MoSCoW Prioritization

MoSCoW is one of the simplest requirements prioritization techniques. MSCW (must, should, could, would) was first introduced by Dai Clegg in 1994. Then, a double “o” was added to make the acronym pronounceable and memorable.

This prioritization method permits you to classify your list of requirements, ideas, or attributes into the following categories:

M (must have). These conditions must be met in the end result and are essential. Your product cannot succeed without them.

S (should have). These capabilities are high-priority but not launch-critical. They are second on your list of priorities.

C (could have). These features of a product are desirable but not essential.

W (won’t have). In most cases, these characteristics will not be featured in the current version. However, they may be included in a later development phase.


  • The MoSCoW method assists in sorting and organizing your product items to get an optimal result. 
  • The method is best for professional judgment of your staff. 
  • It is simple and fast to complete and defines the priorities of in-progress features.


  • All team members involved in the process must possess an appropriate level of knowledge.

4. Eisenhower Matrix

This technique helps in increasing productivity and focusing on the most essential tasks. It divides priorities into four quadrants to accomplish a project’s long-term success. 

  1. Urgent and important: tasks like deadlines and meeting sessions
  2. Urgent but not important: tasks like long-term projects
  3. Not urgent but important: tasks such as email and inquiries
  4. Not urgent and not important: tasks irrelevant to your work


  • This technique has lots of benefits including a better work equilibrium, some sort of relief, and improved output. 


  • You only organize tasks by urgency and importance. It does not account for the required resources, complexity, or level of effort. 
  • Even if their completion contributes to increased productivity and momentum, short, imperative tasks are left untreated. 
  • The regular use of the matrix can be difficult and time-consuming.

5. Lean Prioritization (Value vs. Effort matrix)

Understanding the Value and Effort concept on a 2×2 matrix is an easy and straightforward approach to comprehend it. The 2×2 matrix of Lean prioritization facilitates decision-making and the identification of what is significant or risky, as well as where to put your efforts. Typically, this matrix is linked with the Eisenhower matrix.

Simply draw a large plus symbol on the board and label “Value” and “Effort” across the vertical and horizontal axes, or use any robust product management tool with a built-in matrix framework. 

Comparing the Value and Effort relationship enables better prioritization and selection of the most crucial tasks for development.

Value indicates the business value a feature can offer to your product or organization.

Effort measures the resources required for achieving a task.


  • No complex or time-consuming calculations are necessary.
  • The technique is easily and quickly customizable.


  • There is no well-defined scoring method.
  • There is some ambiguity regarding the effort variable.
  • Not a useful method for a large, comprehensive product.


Through this technique, you can organize and prioritize your everyday responsibilities. To utilize this technique, you must create a list of all the personal and professional tasks you must complete. Consequently, you must place each item in one of the following categories:

A – Very important

It’s essential to take care of these, otherwise you’ll face consequences

B – Less important

You need to complete these tasks, but they are not urgent

C – Nice to do

These tasks should be pleasant to perform.

D – To delegate

These tasks can be shared so that you do not become overburdened.

E – Can be eliminated

These tasks can be included in the calendar, and can be eliminated.

This technique allows you to complete the most challenging tasks first so that you can devote your time to more profitable projects. The difficulty of the ABCDE Method lies in your inability to see the large picture or your reluctance to invest the necessary time.


  • It enables you to complete the 20% of your tasks that contribute the most to your overall goal. In this manner, the most important tasks are completed first while the remainder are set aside.


  • It considers the urgency and the importance of the tasks but does not drive the desired outcome.


This technique estimates the score of each feature by dividing the cost of delay by the duration of the job. It is most useful for medium- to large-sized businesses. Also known as CD3, and is used to evaluate projects, features, advertising campaigns, and anything else used to maximize return on investment. (ROI). 

How to calculate

[ User / Business Value/User Value + Time Criticality + Risk Reduction / Opportunity Enablement ] / Job Size

User and Business Value

User and Business value ranks your jobs according to their relative value to the user and prospective revenue impact. At this phase, you evaluate the solution’s impact on the overall growth.

Time Criticality

Ranks jobs according to how urgent they are. You estimate the value’s depreciation over time or the number of customers we may lose if we delay.

Risk Reduction and Opportunity Enablement

assist you in highlighting tasks that may not generate immediate revenue but will yield long-term benefits. Some solutions will help you avoid technical or legal risks and save money in the long run. 

Job Size

Job duration is the only negative parameter according to the complexity of its execution. It is impossible to obtain the highest ROI without considering the costs of required person-hours. Duration is also known as story points, feature points, action, or size ratio. In this estimation, a lesser number is preferable.


  • Best for estimating the score of each feature for large scale businesses for a specific duration of the task.


  • The relativistic nature of WSJF is said to be its primary flaw. 
  • It is almost impossible to accurately estimate Job Duration because you cannot precisely predict how many hours your team will have to work.

8. Kano Model

Using an order of categories, the Kano Model prioritizes customer satisfaction from a different perspective and methodology. This technique is ideal for analyzing the impact and prioritization of actions based on a client’s sentimental response to your products. 

There are five categories of the requirements in Kano Model:

  1. Must-be Quality: ensures customer satisfaction from a product.
  2. One-dimensional Quality: makes a distinction between the customer’s satisfaction or dissatisfaction.
  3. Attractive Quality: ensures customer satisfaction.
  4. Indifferent Quality: elaborates which aspect doesn’t increase or decrease the client’s satisfaction.
  5. Reverse Quality: elaborates the causes behind a major level of customer dissatisfaction.

The Kano model is a great technique for prioritizing features to enhance customer satisfaction. Although it also protects your time, the challenge lies in the time required to comprehend and operate this model.


  • Businesses understand the requirements of their customers better than customers understand their own needs.
  • When resources are limited, you should select the feature with the greatest impact on customer contentment.


  • A comprehensive Kano analysis can be time-consuming.
  • It can be difficult to explain features to customers using a question format. Occasionally, your customers don’t know what they want until you demonstrate it to them.
  • Does not incorporate the cost of constructing features into its model.

9. Weighted Scoring Model

This prioritization technique is used to evaluate decisions by assigning a numeric score to each activity and/or product. Once the actions have been defined, you must assign them a score that compares effort to value. Thus, you will be able to make sound choices.


  • This technique perks include the ability to compare various project types, a less biased ranking, and the capability to compare at a glance.


  • It is challenging to assign numerical values to abstract elements, particularly since it is tough to compare criteria when evaluating a business.
  • In addition to being a rigid paradigm, it does not always reflect the actual impact of the business.

10. Walking Skeleton

In reality, there are a variety of techniques for delivering and developing a system that could be specified. Based on the Agile Manifesto and Evolutionary Design, the Walking Skeleton technique for software development can be useful. 


  • The main benefit of this method is the rapid prioritization and evaluation of tasks.


  • It lacks essential features and its first release can be late.


Prioritization techniques are essential for anyone looking to maximize their productivity and achieve their goals efficiently. Whether you’re a student, a professional, or an entrepreneur, learning how to prioritize tasks effectively can help you make the most of your time and resources. By using proven methods such as the Eisenhower Matrix or the ABC method, you can organize your to-do list and focus on the most important tasks first. With practice and perseverance, you can master these prioritization techniques and enjoy greater success in both your personal and professional life. So start implementing these strategies today and see the difference they can make!

Luqman Sadiq

Luqman Sadiq is an SEO expert and Blog writer, covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on lifestyle niche. He can be found writing for Tourist guides and Academic Research Articles.

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