Agile + DevOps West 2023 Tutorial: Prioritizing Like a Pro: Designing and Executing Defensible Ordering Strategies

Conference archive


Tuesday, June 6, 2023 - 8:30am to 12:00pm

Prioritizing Like a Pro: Designing and Executing Defensible Ordering Strategies


Effective prioritization is critical to wring the most out of agility. When you’re just delivering once, ordering matters little. However, when the option to release on a regular basis is available, what you do sooner rather than later can have huge impacts on value realization, risk mitigation, and more. However, prioritization is much easier in theory than in practice for most organizations. Arlen has been a practicing agilist for over two decades. Working with hundreds of clients and teaching thousands of students how to effectively prioritize is one of the most frequently raised topics. Stakeholders aren’t accustomed to thinking of projects in smaller chunks, teams aren’t used to contributing as actively as they might, and roles like the Product Owner often find themselves lacking the budget or scope authority to truly manage the backlog. We will explore prioritization from several perspectives: Making the Case – Why is prioritization so critical, and how can we show stakeholders its worth. Assessing Popular Prioritization Systems – What are some existing prioritization strategies in broad usage (e.g. RICE, WSJF, MoSCoW), and what are their respective pros and cons? Building a Custom Prioritization System – Learn how to derive the factors that matter the most to your team. Facilitating Prioritization Sessions – Practice some techniques for engaging teams and stakeholders. This practical workshop will help you grasp the reigns of your backlogs and get the most value out of your agile projects.

Arlen Bankston
Adaptagility LLC

Arlen Bankston was at the vanguard of the agile movement, beginning to practice within two years of the Agile Manifesto’s writing. He was among the first to explicitly blend lean systems thinking and user experience practices with agile software development practices. Arlen was one of the earliest Certified Scrum Trainers, exploring Lean, Six Sigma, BPM, and other process management and systems thinking approaches to ensure that organizations took a holistic perspective beyond just the software. He became a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt while leading a Lean-Agile practice for six years, and was a successful entrepreneur helping to lead the consultancy LitheSpeed for fifteen years following. Now he has formed the company Adaptagility LLC and is working in concert with Grow-Lean LLC. Today, Arlen works across every industry and enjoys a reputation as a thought leader and a dynamic, entertaining, and practical trainer and presenter. He has trained and mentored thousands of ScrumMasters, Product Owners, team members, and executives. Arlen wrote the book “HR and the Agile Organization” to describe how human resources departments can adapt to better support organizations that are trying to become more adaptive while improving employee engagement and retention along the way.