top of page

Ep. 32 Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF) Prioritisation Method

After covering the Screening Checklist & Visual Ranking previously. Today, as part of my series on Prioritisation methods, the more complicated Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF)

WSJF is a prioritisation model used to sequence work to provide maximum economic value the fastest by using the Lean concept of Cost of Delay and duration/time to complete.

Just follow these steps and refer to the image:

1) Assess relative value using Cost of Delay grid.

Place the work tickets on a grid. One axis represents Value, the

other represents Time Criticality, both ranging from Low/Medium/High. Each of the 9 cells on the chart has an associated value ranging from 1-9.

Eg.: Task A is High Value, but Medium urgency, so score = 5

2) Assess the effort & complexity

Order the work relatively to each other based on effort and complexity, using the Fibonacci sequence (1, 2, 3, 5, 8…) a.k.a. T-shirt sizing (XS/S/M/L/XL).

Eg.: Task A is Small in size = 2. We covered this last week!

Image credit: Optus
Image credit: Optus

3) Calculate the WSJF priority score, by dividing the value from Step 1 by the value from Step 2.

Eg.: 5/2=2.5

4) Adjust your backlog based on the WSJF scores!

The higher the score, the higher the priority.

Image credit: Optus
Image credit: Optus

CONS: Cost of Delay is hard to establish; tendency to undervalue innovation due to unknown value; It’s applied at too high-level (make sure to appropriately chunk down work!)

PROS: Repeatable in a consistent way; the consensus way it offers encourages conversation between stakeholders; Bloated requests & features tend to be pared down or they risk never getting to the top of the list where they will be addressed.

Like all prioritisation tools, this should be seen as a conversation tool with your stakeholders. It's not an exact science!

First published here.


bottom of page