Prioritization is a key to successful life. A key criterion of any prioritization is the kind of value it brings to a human being. Product, Technology and Processes – all are ultimately created by humans for humans.
We all know that most of the time people make buying decisions by emotions and not by logic. Ultimately, we are dealing with people, and emotions are core to buying decision of any product/features, services and processes.
In Agile/Scrum, we speak about product backlog which is important in order for a team to have a continuous stream of work. Product backlog means having features/stories, and it is the Product Owner’s responsibility to prioritize it along with business and the team. There are different techniques available for prioritizing product backlog like Kano Model of Customer Satisfaction, Innovation Games, Relative Weighting – Karl Weigers and more. Details about these and more can be viewed at: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh765981(v=vs.120).aspx
The focus of the Kano model is mainly on “Exciters” and “Must Haves” features which are identified by “Kano Mapping” tables, with the mapping done via functional and dysfunctional questions. It mainly speaks about the customer’s feeling about a particular feature, where we identify whether he likes or dislikes a particular feature by asking functional and dysfunctional questions. Other prioritization techniques like Innovation Games/Relative Weighting also take inputs from the customer/end-user which are again based on their feelings about product/features.
So, at the end of the day, all prioritization techniques are based on human inputs which turn around their feelings. Feelings are based on emotions and needs. So, it’s important to understand core human needs and how these can be used in prioritization.
We as human beings have six core needs as mentioned below (For more details of human needs, please refer: http://training.tonyrobbins.com/the-6-human-needs-why-we-do-what-we-do/):
|Connection/Love||A strong feeling of closeness or union with someone or something|
|Certainty||Assurance you can avoid pain and gain pleasure|
|Uncertainty/Variety||The need for the unknown, change, excitement, variety, new stimuli|
|Significance||Feeling unique, important, special or needed|
|Contribution||A sense of service and focus on helping, giving to and supporting others|
|Growth||An expansion of capacity, capability or understanding|
It’s important to understand that any product/feature satisfying at least 3-4 human needs can become successful easily and any one satisfying 5-6 human needs can create history.
Let’s consider Facebook as a service, and analyse how it meets our core needs and has created history.
|Connection/Love||Helps in creating more connection and love, even with people you have never met|
|Certainty||People come on Facebook and like your post|
|Uncertainty/Variety||There is an excitement that how many likes/shares you will get. Strangers become friends.|
|Significance||You feel significant based on the number of likes and shares of your post.|
|Contribution||You contribute to others by liking and commenting their posts, and others reciprocate by liking and commenting your post.|
|Growth||You share your views on others post, people shares their views on your views – continuous learning and expansion of thoughts|
In a nutshell, the message I would like to convey is we can expand existing prioritization techniques to capture human needs explicitly based on the above six core needs. Any feature/product satisfying more than three human needs can be considered as Exciters. Weights can be given to human needs, and these can be used to capture like/dislike of a particular feature/product. It’s important that you keep these human-needs in mind while doing back-log prioritization or for that matter any task-list prioritization in your life. These are the essence of human life.
So, from now on, whenever you are in a decision-making situation and doing prioritization, e.g., if you are in a product prioritization meeting, you should ask the following questions:
- Out of six human needs, which are the needs this particular feature or product is satisfying?
- For the pending items to be evaluated, which needs are satisfied by which pending items?
- On a lighter note J – when deciding whether to give time to friends to your spouse or to parents: who makes you feel more significant, gives you more love, contributes to you, provides more certainty, more variety and makes you feel you are growing?
Keep these six core human-needs in your focus and you will see decision making as an exciting process!