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ITIL :: View topic - Prioritization
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Joined: Jul 09, 2009
Posts: 2
Location: Little Rock, AR. USA

PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2009 5:52 am    Post subject: Prioritization Reply with quote

Priority is a function of impact and urgency, but are there any industry best practices as to the way to compute this? There's no cut and dry answer provided by ITIL because this is a business decision and you have to do what is best for your business, but want to poll the opinions of this board as to what has worked well for you personally.

    1. Should priority be an evenly weighted associative function (impact + urgency or impact * urgency)?
      1.a. If so, how do you reconcile having, for example, four priority 5 incidents or problems: I=4 & U=1, I=3 & U=2, I=2 & U=3, I=1 & U=4?

    2. Should it be a function similar to the above but with impact weighted more heavily than urgency? (If so, how much?)
    3. Do you concatenate the two fields somehow or use another method?

Like I said, I know there's no "right" answer, but am curious to see what the opinions are and any thoughts would be appreciated.
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Joined: Mar 04, 2008
Posts: 1894
Location: Helensburgh

PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Urgency is about how quickly the impact starts to bite.

Impact is a little more complex because it can be one single cost (at ten o'clock this will cost us 100 gold doubloons if it has not been fixed), or a rate of cost (this is costing 5 doubloons per minute) or a combination of both or worse. And it may be difficult to work out the actual values.

You cannot put all that into the initial prioritization process and so you just do enough to get the picture broadly correct. when it comes to the crunch and two or more incidents are clashing for scarce resources, then someone has to get into more detail about impact and make a judgement call.
"Method goes far to prevent trouble in business: for it makes the task easy, hinders confusion, saves abundance of time, and instructs those that have business depending, both what to do and what to hope."
William Penn 1644-1718
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Joined: May 25, 2007
Posts: 105
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 3:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Implied by Diarmid but not stated: if you estimate that it'll take one person ten minutes to fix one problem but it'll take four people ten hours to fix another, seriously consider fixing the 10-minute problem quickly.
Ruth Mason
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Joined: Sep 21, 2006
Posts: 63
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We use a matrix that maps Impact and Urgency to Priority. Each of these 3 parameters has a scale from 1 to 4. This matrix is more practical than adding or multiplying and easily allows you add more weight to either Impact or Urgency.

If Impact is your measurement for the (accumulated) amount of pain the problem causes when it hits and Urgent is your measurement for the likeliness that the problem will actually hit within a certain timeframe (and without a workaround that eliminates or minimizes the Impact), then you may want to consider giving more weight to Urgency. Think of it this way. Say you have 2 problems, A and B. Problem A has an Impact of 2 (with 1 being highest) and an Urgency of 2 because it only happens once every couple of weeks or because you have a workaround that basically prevents the problem from impacting. Problem B has an Impact of 3 and an Urgency of 1 because it is happening every day and there is nothing you can do to stop it or to minimize the Impact. Which one would you want to work on first?
Manager of Problem Management
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