In both the Agile Ranking screen and the Agile Backlog screen you can press the cog icon to open up the perspectives menu, revealing three separate ranking options

  • importance
  • priority
  • or risk

Importance Matrix

Urgency vs Importance

This perspective allows you to rank your issues based on their necessity to the project (importance), and their sensitivity to time (urgency).

Of course, this importance depends heavily on what your business values - not every company puts the same importance and urgency on the same issues.

Once you have ranked your issues, the team moves to the Agile Backlog for sprint planning (or backlog refinement), except now you're planning with the advantage of having everything already discussed and in the proper order of importance.

Priority Matrix

Value vs Effort

This perspective helps decide which of your many suggested solutions to implement. In other words, it provides answers to the question of which solutions seem easiest to achieve (effort) with the most impact (value). 

With its two axis, Value and Effort, you are able to quickly evaluate your issues to find those with the best ratio of value to effort.

This is common practice for any team involved with Project Management, and it should enable teams to tackle the issues that provide the most amount of value, for the least amount of effort, increasing their efficiency. In software projects, it helps prioritize the features the development team should work on first.

Once again, the final placement of the issues will rely on your own definition of value such as

  • how many customers are requesting it?
  • what is its revenue potential?
  • what is the effort required (time, resources, etc.)?

In Comalatech, we find this a fundamental perspective when we plan our epics.

Risk Matrix

Severity vs Probability

It represents the amount of influence a risk has on your project.

It shows you what to focus your effort on preventing. Thus, the Risk perspective features two axis

  • a horizontal axis one for Severity
  • a vertical Probability axis

Use this perspective to assess the riskiness of your issues, and to plan your actions accordingly i.e., is there any almost certain risk, with catastrophic consequences? So, it becomes obvious - do it NOW

Our instinct may be to start with the high value and low risk issues first, since those should be easier. However, issues with a higher risk are a danger for the success of the project, so we have to address those issues as soon as possible. With this approach, we identify which issues can jeopardize the project, or even ruin it. Of course, issues with high risk, but low value, should be done at the end of the project.

In addition to your Sprint planning, after identifying and ranking the risks you should create a risk management plan, with planned responses to any risk that comes to pass.

Risk Rank Risk Plan

Sorting By Perspective

Finally, this enhancement adds one last benefit to your Agile planning. When viewing any perspectives on the Agile Ranking screen, you can choose to sort your unranked issues by either of the other two perspectives.

For example, if you're currently ranking issues along the Importance matrix, you can choose to sort your unranked issues by either "Risk rank" or "Priority rank", instantly arranging those issues in the order inherited from the other perspective.

Our own team has found it very useful to sort the unranked list of issues using the priority perspective as a means of comparison when ranking epics in the Importance matrix.

Thus, you can rank based on the value of your features (i.e., using the priority perspective), but taking into account which of those features pose a higher risk to the project (i.e., sorting by the risk perspective).

Searching By Perspective

The ranking used in the previously seen perspectives can be used in the JQL. It's a numeric value:

  • agile-priority for the priority perspective
  • agile-ranking for the importance perspective
  • agile-risk for the risk perspective