How to prioritize issues in Jira Cloud

Everyone knows that resources are always limited, no matter what resources are used: time, money, work, or anything else. We cannot just enter a cheat code or activate the trainer to get unlimited resources.
We always need to consider that our resources are limited as well as our capabilities. All the time, we need to sacrifice something to achieve something important and valuable. So here, we use different prioritization techniques subconsciously and identify the most important things to us against some criteria.
The same applies to project management when you have a huge backlog with thousands of tasks, and you need to identify things you need to complete first, which ones you can postpone, and which ones are of no importance.

As a project manager, you can use a variety of techniques and approaches to prioritize your backlog. By default, Jira Cloud is shipped with a simple prioritization mechanism that allows you to set the priority of your task among others. What you can do is just set the highest, high, medium, low, and lowest priority, and that’s all.

In most situations, this is not enough and does not allow you to efficiently identify the most important items in your backlog. As the result, you get a backlog with very-very important and very important tasks, which makes it almost impossible to better understand what you should do next.

You can add additional fields that you may use to better segment tasks and identify the most valuable tasks. So what can you do to optimize this process?

No matter how ideal and perfect the process is, any process can be improved and optimized to your current needs. How can you enhance your prioritization process? Well, first of all, you can start with the RICE prioritization technique.

If you have not ever heard about it, here’s a quick overview of it. RICE stands for reach, impact, confidence, and efforts. You evaluate each backlog item against these four criteria:

  • Reach — user audience which your functionality will reach.
  • Impact — significance of functionality on success of your product adoption and further conversion.
  • Confidence — level of proof you have that your customers need this or that feature.
  • Efforts — time and resource estimates needed to implement functionality.

As the result, you get a prioritization score, which you can use to identify the most important things. To get started with RICE, you can use the 0 to 10 grade for each criterion.

The formula to calculate the RICE score looks as follows:

RICE score = (Reach * Impact * Confidence) / Efforts.

At this point, you may ask a question yourself. Does Jira really have calculated fields? Well, actually, no 🙂

But if you need such field, we can provide it to you per your request.

Let’s add the four number fields into our project and the calculated field. Once this is done, we can proceed to calculating the RICE score for each task in our backlog.

All you need to do is to enter the formula and apply it; the rest will be handled by the calculated field. After saving the formula, you will see the RICE score for a task.

Going through tasks can be quite exhausting and frustrating for you. It’s much easier to open the list of tasks and edit them inline.

After saving the new value, the re-calculated RICE score will be updated in your spreadsheet.

This is how you can go with your team through the list of backlog items and calculate the RICE score for each task. Once all the scores have been calculated, you can quickly find the tasks with the highest scores and add them into the next sprint.

Well, if the RICE methodology is not applicable as you are using your own prioritization technique, this is not a problem either. You can enter any other formula which can calculate the priority score based on numerical values.

Just drop us a message to connect the calculated field to your Jira Cloud instance and install the Spreadsheet Issue Field Editor app. Now you are ready to better prioritize your backlog and deliver solutions that your customers crave.

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