agile > chapter 2 launch and planning > 6 prioritizing requirements

Prioritizing Requirements

In the agile approach, the more business value a requirement can deliver, the higher its priority. There are certain techniques we can use in order to more easily determine what is of the more business value than the others.

We can create a requirements stack for our product. This is simply a list of requirements of varying degrees of potential business value. This stack will then be prioritized using a prioritization technique.


This is a simple technique. Notice the letters being capitalized:


For a website:

The Kano Model

This technique was developed by Professor Noriaki Kano in the 1980s. As opposed to the functionality prioritization done in MoSCoW, the Kano model is focused on prioritizing what will lead to the most economic value and sales.

We organize the requirements into 3 groups:

Ranking-based prioritization model

Here we prioritize the stack by their perceived order of importance. Unlike in MoSCoW, the Must requirements can have Should requirements mixed in between them.

For example, in MoSCoW we would create the home page and about pages and then look to add the company logo and consistent styling. In the ranking-based model, we would create the home page and add the company logo and styling to it. Then we do the same for the about page.

This model sees us prioritizing requirements based on the order in which we would execute them. It doesn't make sense to build all the pages on a website and only then style them just because the Must is higher priority than the Should.

Points are awarded to each requirement by the stakeholders and the points for each requirement are summed up. The requirements with more points are placed higher up on the list.

Factors to consider when prioritizing requirements

After the stakeholders prioritize the requirements, adjustments have to be made by the work team. For example, the product owner might deem a login page to be of the most business value but the work team knows that a home page with a link to the login page must be built before the login page. This makes the home page more important with respect to execution.

This is called progressive planning - the process of regularly re-evaluating the order of the requirements.

The requirements backlog

After we reorder the requirements stack according to business value and execution order, it is considered to be the project backlog. We thus use this term to refer to the prioritized set of requirements.