Resource allocation is arguably the most important function of management. Resources are finite—and how we allocate them has a dramatic effect on the extent to which we achieve our goals.
As an IT Consultant I used the following simple two-factor heuristic to prioritize use cases and system functionality:
- Business benefit
- Technical difficulty
where “technical difficulty” included both the amount of work and the complexity / risk associated with the work. For each factor, we assigned a Small, Medium, or Large rating—i.e. “T-shirt sizing.”
This is a commonly used approach.
For an entire product, many organizations use some flavor of “Desirability, Feasibility, and Viability” as outlined, for example, in the book Product Roadmaps Relaunched:
- Desirability. Product-Market Fit. Are we providing a solution to a real customer need or want?
- Feasibility. Can we make the product?
- Viability. The benefit to the organization. Does the product support the company mission, brand, and strategy? Will it be profitable?
Lower-level factors influence each of the high-level criteria above. Informed by several other lists found via a quick internet search, I created my own extensive mind-map to account for these:
Download as MS Word – the mind-map and a bulleted list
To put this into practice, the next step would be to import the mind-map into a spreadsheet that supports assigning weights to each mid-level branch. Adding a few thought-provoking questions for the lower-level criteria would also add value.
What do you think? Is this list exhaustive, or are there any significant criteria still unaccounted for? Please reply using comments.