Task Prioritization: Prioritizing using Scaling

This is part 4 of our series on Task Prioritization, previous segments are available in our archives.

I’ve spent the last two days talking about the four factors I like to include in my task prioritization scoring system. Today I’ll talk about how to take each of the general concepts and convert them to a common scale.

The challenge with a scoring system such as this is that each of the factors we’ve discussed measures something entirely different. Reach is the number of customers. Value is a dollar amount. Effort is a number of points. And Confidence is a percentage.

We could leave the raw values from each factor as they are to use in calculations, but then the resulting scores and proportionate changes will be influenced by the magnitude of the values themselves. If the Reach doubles from one customer to two, should that have the same impact as the Value doubling from $10,000 per month to $20,000 per month?

You can control for these issues by using scaling to translate the raw values into more comparative values. Scaling can be as simple as multiplying each value by a weight, or as complex as having functions that map a value into a new, scaled, value.

For example, we could scale the values of our factors as follows:

 

Reach
Customers Scaled
1 1
2-5 2
6-10 5
11-50 8
> 50 10

 

Value
Dollars Scaled
< $1,000 1
$1,000 – $5,000 3
$5,000 – $10,000 6
$10,000-$20,000 9
> $20,000 10

 

Effort
Points Scaled
0.5 1
1 2
2 5
3 7
5 10

 

Confidence
Percent Scaled
1-10% 1
11-25% 3
26-50% 5
51-75% 6
76-90% 8
91-100% 10

 

In this scaling example, I mapped every factor’s value to a scale of 1-10. But, if desired, you could weight some factors more than others. For example, if you really want Value to be the main driver of your prioritization, you could scale it to values between 1-20 (and keep the others between 1-10).

This part of the process is a bit subjective in that you will need to decide on the size of the relative steps between each value and whether to make the buckets increase linearly or not. These are the nuanced choices you’ll need to make to be prioritize your business, but by having a framework in place, you will at least be able to make choices based on a consistent measurement.

Now that we have our scaled values for each factor, everything is in place to create a formula to compute a prioritized score for each task.