What my Mom taught me about Prioritization

As an agile coach I always tell my team and those I work with the importance of prioritization. If we prioritize we can contain waste. I believe prioritization is the first step towards going lean. The need to decide what is it that we want to do now. What is it that brings maximum value to what we do.

When I was quite young I went to both my parents with a question.

If you had to do two tasks; one was a very tough task that you did not like to do and the other was a very easy task that you loved to do; and you had to do both tasks, which one will you choose to do first?

My dad told me that he will first do the task that was tough and then the easy one.

I went with the same questions to my mom and she said “I will first do the task that is the most important”

Even today when we tell people to prioritize, it is not easy. We work in environments where we deal with tasks with equal priorities and sometimes conflicting priorities. Prioritization is not easy. If you are a leader, coach your team to prioritize, give them the tools and empower them to prioritize.

What my mom said also has a deeper meaning to it; the more important task does not always mean the toughest one. The key is to finding out the importance of a task. And the importance of a task is defined by the value the task delivers. Now you can define what Value means to you.

Value can be defined in different ways based on the context you ask that question; family, work, profitability, happiness, society and so on.