Resources | Business Agility

How to get the most out of prioritising your work

  • 2 minute read
Book a free consult
Current trends around prioritisation for larger organisations

When we ask organisations about prioritisation, it often makes people feel overwhelmed, undervalued and confused. Their current methods often appear superficial and shortsighted and they become  slightly excited by the prospect of prioritising the work in an ordered list matched to capacity. This is because the people we speak to are often faced with more work and ideas that they want to fulfil, than they often have capacity to do so. Does that sound familiar to you? If so, read on!

Some of the more recent trends that we see, particularly in larger organisations around prioritisation are:

  • that teams want to work smarter to feel more fulfilled at work;
  • teams want to further embrace accountability and do more meaningful work rather than simply fulfil orders; 
  • teams want to feel empowered to make prioritisation decisions;
  • team members want to shed the ‘guilt’ of letting go of work… so that they can achieve great things
  • and we shift to use conversations and prioritisation tools to align on priorities collectively as a team

It’s important to prioritise effectively in organisations, for the following reasons:

  • To focus on delivering value: Prioritising ensures that the most important and valuable tasks are completed first allowing teams to deliver value early and frequently
  • It helps with flexibility: helps the team to adapt to changing business environment and requirements. By shifting priorities, teams ensure that the most valuable and important tasks are always being delivered first
  • To make effective use of people and time: To ensure that we are always working on things of high value
  • Reduce risks: by addressing the most critical tasks first, it helps us to identify and manage risks

Prioritisation methods

Without including an exhaustive list, there are many methods by which you can prioritise (here are some) you can find lots of information about each online without going into more detail here:

  • MoSCoW – Must Have, Should Have, Could Have
  • T-shirt sizing
  • Value Vs Urgency 
  • Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF) – cost of delay
  • First in, last out
  • Eisenhower Matrix (Do, Decide, Delegate, Delete) 
  • Kano Model (Basic needs, Performance, Attributes, Excitement attributes) 
  • RICE (Reach, Impact, Confidence, Effort) 
  • Pareto Principle (also known as 80/20 rule) 
  • SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) 
  • Cost-Benefit analysis 
  • Risk Assessment


EPiC tips for prioritisation:

Create a common language

Each of them have their merits and drawbacks. What is important is that you find a common way to prioritise in your team, and even across teams. This creates a common language and norm of prioritisation and short-cuts having to argue how to prioritise each time. Make every conversation around prioritisation fulfilling and productive.

Use more than one 

Often we see teams use a couple of these in tandem: for example a team might short-list ideas to work on with a Value Vs Urgency matrix and then use something more specific like WSJF to further sort and refine into an ordered backlog of initiatives.

Avoid Bias

Be weary of team members prioritising tasks aligning with own expertise and interest over tasks which are most valuable for the team and initiatives

Lack of transparency on process

Everyone should know which prioritisation process they are using and how to do it to prevent misunderstanding or a lack of buy in


Taking on too much or everything being important can lead to burnout and/or poor quality of work

Lack of Stakeholder/Customer input

A lack of input can result in priorities which do no align with wider organisation or customer goals and needs

Enter your details below to enquire about a free consult with one of our specialists.

    Company size

    Industry (optional)

    * This offer is available for new clients only.
    Thank you! A team member will be in touch with you shortly
    Related posts
    Resources | Transformation
    Virtual Big Room Planning Guide
    How to virtually facilitate multiple teams to collaborate towards a shared understanding of how they’ll achieve outlined business goals over the next quarter.
    Learn more
    Delivery | Health Checks
    Health Checks
    Measure where your teams, programs, portfolios and enterprise are at. Then build actionable growth plans to take it to another level and prove uplift over time.
    Read more
    Delivery | Agile Tooling Services
    Agile Tooling Services
    Get the most out of your Agile tooling investment
    Read more