Catherine Ulrich, a Venture Capitalist and former Chief Product Officer, shares her technique for prioritization. The five-step process works best with a cross-functional and diverse team from various departments and roles.
Step 1: Brainstorm
Start with the question or goal you are striving for. Have each participant brainstorm as many ideas and solutions as possible within 5 minutes.
Step 2: De-Dupe
One-by-one have each participant take turns sharing an idea. Repeat this process while removing any duplicates and keeping discussion to a minimum. Optionally, you can begin to group similar ideas into themes to visualize emerging patterns.
Step 3: Rank the Impact
Draw an X-axis line with ‘Most Valuable’ on the right and ‘Least Valuable’ on the left. Have each member take a turn ranking any one of the ideas at a time. After repeating this process it will eventually come down to a few ideas that are moved back and forth. At this point, you should discuss as a group to determine the value of the idea in question.
Step 4: Rank the Effort
Draw a Y-axis line with ‘Easy’ at the top and ‘Hard’ at the bottom. Repeat the same process as before taking turns ranking the ideas one at a time to determine the level of effort.
Step 5: Take A Stand
Have one person in the group draw a diagonal line. This line is the priority line, with everything above the line becoming a priority and everything below getting cut. As a team, debate the placement of the line until you can reach agreement on the priorities.