Prioritization process at Saphety


Good morning!

Wait, your alarm should have woken you up at 8AM to prepare for your important meeting at 10AM. Something is wrong with the alarm and yes it chose today to strike.

As an environmental activist, you do not own any personal vehicle.
You still have enough time to go to work by bus but you are not 100% sure whether you will arrive on time. If there was no meeting today you would surely take the bus. The cab is more expensive but now you are WILLING to pay more since it gets you to work much FASTER.

Now imagine you are in a cab, or in a bus. What if the cab or the bus is clean? Well, it has to be clean. You EXPECT it that way. But what if it is not? You are disappointed. This is your BASIC requirement.

What if today when you are in a cab, the driver offers you a free croissant? His company is running a campaign giving away free croissants for clients who are rushing to work with an empty stomach in the morning :). You are DELIGHTED! You will for sure choose this cab company next time among others …for the sake of your stomach.



You may have recognized this story has something connected to the well-known Kano Model (Kano 1984), which helps to categorize the pool of features into three groups: Basic, performance and excitement. In our example, three features of the transportation service and how their execution affects your satisfaction levelswere described.

  • Basic features are considered the entry requirements to get into the market and are naturally expected to be included in the product or service by clients.
  • Performance features are the core needs of clients when they think of buying the product or service. The better the performance, the more clients are willing to pay.
  • Excitement features are those that make you different from other rivals. These features are not expected in advance by clients but may yield paramount satisfaction from them.

At Saphety, the Kano model is applied in our roadmap development, after our product owners have decided upon a pool of features and desires from multiple stakeholders, both internal and external. Decisions are HARD! Categorizing user stories depends on the product stage, time constraints, user impacts and user experience, to name a few.

After user stories are grouped into three categories, their prioritization order is decided using the method of Relative Weighting (Wiegers 1999). This is a semi-quantitative approach which enables us to put user stories into order based on their priority value in our product backlog. To derive this final single priority value for each user story, three variables are needed:

  • Business Value – the benefit of having this feature or how much incremental money earned after this feature is included.
  • Penalty –the negative impact of not having the feature on your business. Some features may not bring much perceived value, but without them, your business might go wrong.
  • Cost – the amount of time and effort that the whole team estimates to spend on developing a user story. At Saphety, the cost is measured by story points.

Business value and penalty can be estimated through collecting experts´ opinions using the method of poker planning or simply trusting your gut. Your gut gets it right most of the time :). Below is an example of how values are set.

Imagine you have to study for your tomorrow´s exam of philosophy but tonight is the World Cup final match of your team. If we use a scale from 1 to 9, passing the exam just brings you a benefit of 3. However, if failing, you will lose your scholarship of this semester. Therefore, the penalty of not passing the exam is almost 9 for you. On the other hand, watching the football match brings you the benefit of 9 (c´mon, it just happens once every four year, while the exam happens… every year) whilst the penalty of not watching it is almost 0. So will you study or watch football? DEPENDS ON YOUR “GOAL”. All the numbers set above are just purely based on your own assessment, on what you think is important to you. (In this example, as benefit rating is weighted twice as heavily as the penalty rating, you will probably end up watching football, because you value it more).




The illustration below summarizes Saphety´s prioritization process:





  1. Karl E. Wiegers, “First Things First: Prioritizing Requirements”, Software Development, September 1999
  2. Mike Cohn, “Agile Estimating and Planning”, Pearson Education, 2005
  3. Mike Cohn, “Analyzing your product Backlog”
  4. “The 3-Step Hybrid Process for Prioritizing Product Features”,, last accessed on February 23rd, 2016

Subject: 2016, Colombia, Portugal, Brazil


Publicado por Luna

Marketing Trainee at Saphety (Linkedin)