Prioritization Exercise for 2023

This year, we formalized setting our priorities for the coming year through a "prioritization exercise." On Wednesday, January 18 from 9-11am, we completed a prioritization exercise called 20/20 Vision. An explanation of the exercise can be found at Gamestorming.

Step 1

For each Surfliner product we asked the Tech Leads and Product Owners to survey their stakeholders and add their top priorities for the upcoming year to a shared list along with the benefits of that priority. We specifically requested high-level “epic” priorities (so no smaller, ticket-level items on the list).

Our focus was on the 2023 calendar year with the understanding that we would revisit the priority list mid-year.

You can find the initial list with the descriptions, benefits, and presenters in our google drive.

Step 2

Then, we had all members of the product team read through the shared list of priorities for 2023. If they thought something needed to be added for a specific product, they talked to the product owner to see if it could be added.We wanted to make sure that we were capturing non-product priorities on this list as well -- things like infrastructure, training, and documentation needs, so we asked the product team to add those ad hoc.

Step 3

Using a Miro Board for our virtual wall and sticky notes, each person who proposed a priority listed (there were over 20!) was given time to present on the priority and benefits. Then, the floor was open for questions and challenges.

Step 4

After all the priorities were presented, then we got to work ranking the priorities in single file order. Was this feature more important than this feature? Was the maintenance work imperative to make sure that this product was successful? This was also a time where we might uncover that some features couldn't be developed without having other priorities completed first. After all the presentations, we had a list of epics that were in priority order from the product teams.

You’ll notice reading the original exercise that sharing and discussing priorities prior to the planning session is not included as part of the original game. In the interest of inclusivity of different learning styles and communication methods, we wanted to make sure that all the members participating in the game felt comfortable and understood all the priorities being discussed. We also had more participants (number of participants here) than recommended, hence the increase in the playing time from 1.5 hours to 3 hours. 

Why we did it

The 20/20 Vision game is all about being transparent about what projects, features, and initiatives are on the table for the team and which ones we have collectively decided to move to the front of the line.

Not only is this important for the team and those who direct their work (their managers and product owners). But it is also important to have agreed upon priorities for attaining our goals as libraries.

The Results

Next we will take a look at the results.