Learn to prioritize user stories from UX designers

Struggle with prioritizing user stories? Prioritized but later you implemented further tasks? Don’t worry, maybe you have chosen the wrong method. Projects are different, hence you should tailor planning and development processes right to the product. I read an article about a UX designer’s goals and inspired me to transform the UX designer’s goals into a task prioritization solution. Follow us and learn to prioritize user stories like a UX designer.

How to prioritize user stories?

Having to say, one of the most frequent critics of the good old MoSCoW method that you have to set priority levels for every user story. But how can you declare relative priority on similar tasks? In fact, the issue is the same when you use priority poker. In other words, there must be a different approach to schedule tasks and set up the thinnest MVP to launch the product ASAP (and earn money).

Amy Smith’s article about UX designer’s goals collects the following expectations:

  • Goal1: I got what I need
  • Goal2: Don’t make me think
  • Goal3: I really enjoy using it
  • Goal4: Habit is a second nature
  • Goal5: Make users to your promoters

After reading Amy’s article I realized: I can use those goals to prioritize user stories. Think of these goals as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and organize tasks into these groups. Thus, Goal1 is on the lowest level and Goal5 on the top level of the pyramid. The most needed and important tasks belong to Goal1, and so on. Let’s examine how to transform these needs into prioritizing.

Level 1. Priority: “I got what I need”

That means our job is to collect the minimum functions to fulfill this basic need. In other words, these are the core functions of the product, are good enough to launch the MVP. If a task solves a  needs on different levels, then the story is too big. Try to break stories into smaller parts. Turn the minimum viable solutions into working features later make them better.

For example, you have two solutions for “pay with bankcard” task. First, you should develop an easy form for entering bank card data. There is an option to add a feature that recognizes the card type according to the bank card number but that costs extra dev time. However, you should develop it later on.

Level 2. Priority: “Don’t make me think”

Collect tasks here that improve usability. Handle former separated features on this priority level. On the other hand, you can improve an existing product by finding an easy-to-use alternative for a working feature. Continuing the previous example, you can handle the automated card type recognition feature on this level.

Level 3. Priority: I really enjoy using it

Put UX tasks and other features that make the product good looking onto this level. If the whole development is a long process, or the product is old enough to launch a redesign project, create those tasks here. Better UX makes you more users and better reviews.

Level 4. Priority: Habit is a second nature

This goal means in UX that we have to understand what motivates the users. Recognize how to form a new habit. If you find this hard to translate into product development, think of Trello. Founders developed it for project management, but Trello is spread around the world. Why? Because several features were added to make the product customizable. Some users plan not only their vacation but a daily shopping.

Level 5. Make users to your promoters

Marketing is not an activity separated from the product. Marketing department often comes up with ideas how to get more customers. These ideas can be a social share button, or “send invitation email” function.

Try this out on your product. Did your schedule meet this angle?

Like all methods, it also has a critic and I’m curious about your opinion. Leave us a comment below!

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Nothing to prioritize? Boost your planning with these 5 awesome techniques.

Would you like to add journeys to personas? Read more about How to visualize personas and journeys.

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