Requirements Prioritization Technique: Voting

According to the BABOK® Guide, there are five business analysis techniques you should consider when prioritizing your requirements during requirements analysis. Any or all of these techniques are an excellent addition to the skill set of any effective business analyst.  We looked at two of these techniques in previous posts, MoSCoW Analysis and Timeboxing/Budgeting. The remaining techniques to consider are Voting, Decision Analysis and Risk Analysis. Let’s take a closer look at using Voting as a requirements prioritization technique. We can have a look at the remaining two prioritization techniques in subsequent blogs.

The voting technique is used for prioritizing requirements and is defined as part of this specific task and knowledge area in the BABOK® Guide. Voting is exactly what it sounds like – using voting methods to facilitate requirement prioritization by a group of project stakeholders.  Voting is pretty straightforward, allowing votes to be distributed across a set of proposed features or requirements in order to prioritize them and get everyone to agree to their prioritization.

Practically speaking, you need to plan your voting strategy before sitting down with a group to prioritize requirements. Some folks like to use colored dots to represent votes of different priorities (red = must, blue = should, green = could, yellow = won’t) while others like to accumulate votes using simpla addition. You will need to decide how many votes are needed to indicate agreement – 50%, 67%, 90% or some other number. You will also need to decide how to handle situations where only one feature can be a particular priority but two features are tied for that position.

Well, that is our closer look at one of the recommended techniques for prioritizing requirements, Voting.  I have found this technique to be of great help on many projects, particularly for getting stakeholders engaged and realistic about prioritizing the requirements for a project relative to the project scope, schedule or budget. Please give a shout if you have another BABOK® Guide technique you would like to explore in more detail!

Susan Weese

Business analysts are increasingly becoming the critical liaisons between business and solution development (oftentimes IT), so they must communicate and relate with equal effectiveness throughout all levels of an organization. Download this free White Paper to see which five common obstacles business analysts face and how to address them to ensure success.

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