How to improve collaboration with this one simple prioritisation technique

August, 8th 2016Simon Tomes

Done. Right. What's next?

Development teams are great at picking up tasks. Give them the next ticket, story or issue and they run with it. Let's turn whatever it is into a set of tasks and get crackin'!

Teams might step back to question details but miss an opportunity to take a leap back.

What if teams stopped jumping on tasks? What if teams focused on learning?

In this post I'll share a simple prioritisation technique. It will help you and your team shift to learn-first prioritisation.

Align to a goal

Learn-first prioritisation requires an overarching team goal or business problem to be solved. Use this as your starting point.

For example, a business goal might be to increase the monetary size of a basket by 10%. A task or story related to this might say something like: "As a user I can add items from my wish list to my basket."

Sounds like a must have piece of functionality. But what about listening to the voice of all team members?

A learn-first approach empowers a team to ask questions that align with a business problem or goal.

How might we make it easier for a user to add to the basket? What currently blocks the user from increasing their basket size? What shopping basket technology should we trial? Who should we speak to to better understand the problem? What simple experiment could we run to address the basket goal?

Questions like that need prioritisation.

What do we want to learn next?

How your team agrees what they want to learn next is simple:

Select those with most votes. Work out what you need to do to learn. Create activities to address your most important learning.

When the time is right, share your learnings and ask the question again:

"What do we want to learn next?".

Continue the learning loop.

Learn-first prioritisation

A shift from "What do we need to do next?" to "What do we want to learn next?" is subtle yet extremely powerful.

Teams that learn together create the best opportunity to amplify intrinsic motivators.

Learn-first prioritisation is highly engaging. Something magical happens when learnings are shared and it's time to work out what to learn next.

Over to you

Could you use something like this? Where do you think it applies? Have you used something similar? Try it out! How did it go? I'd love to get your thoughts, your experiences and your feedback!