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How to Prioritise Using Mince Pies

Mince pie challenge Radtac.jpgI love mince pies. FACT.


It was a day in late November, and I was catching the late train home after a long day in the office. I needed a drink, so I went to the food and drink place in St Pancras International. I asked for my coffee, and was offered a Mince Pie for an extra £1. Ooh that’s a good offer, I thought, so I said ‘Okay’.


Whilst sitting on the train I sipped my drink and devoured my Mince Pie. The coffee was good, but the mince pie was average at best. Especially for a £1, I thought. Perhaps it wasn't such a good deal!


So I posted a picture of my pie to our Slack channel, and jokingly gave it a score of 6 out of 10. Our Slack channel went berserk with ‘You’ve had a mince pie - why have you scored it?’ ‘OMG you scored it’ etc. And I thought, well yes, I have had a mince pie, and yes I have scored it... I wonder how others compare, and I wonder which one is best!


And that is where it all started.


The next day, back in the office, I gathered some willing participants and we started to identify the different mince pie sellers we could test, as well as the criteria we would use to judge the pies by. The criteria we selected were Price, Freshness, Pastry quality, Filling Quality.

Mince pie scoring table.jpgWe also agreed we would use the story point sequence 1,2,3,5,8,13 to score each category - 1 being very poor, and 13 being very good.


So then the mince pie consumption started.


We started off with one mince pie and gave it what we thought was an average score for each criteria. This would then be our baseline, which we would compare all other Mince Pies against.


Along the way, many mince pies were consumed, nom, nom, nom. We didn’t manage to test them all, especially since we wanted to able to eat mince pies again sometime. However, we’ve now done as many as we can, and the scores are ready to be counted.

Mince pie scoring teamwork.jpg


Our group’s favourite mince pie was a draw between Tesco Finest and Iceland:


 

Cost

Freshness

Pastry Quality

Filling Quality

TOTAL

Tesco

20

3

5

3

31

Tesco Finest

8

8

8

13

37

M&S Regular

5

3

5

5

18

M&S Star

5

8

5

8

26

Sainsbury

13

2

3

3

21

Asda

8

8

2

8

26

Asda iced

8

8

5

5

26

Iceland

8

8

8

13

37

Waitrose

8

5

3

3

19

Waitrose Premium

3

2

3

3

11

Waitrose puff

5

5

5

3

18


Now, one of our team is a very economically frugal person. They wanted to put more importance on the cost, so we allowed them to double the value for the cost criteria.


This meant that the Tesco standard mince pie came out on top. Our frugal friend was very happy because now his mince pie only cost him one sixth of the 89p, about 15p!  Bah humbug.


 

Cost

Freshness

Pastry Quality

Filling Quality

TOTAL

Tesco

40

3

5

3

51

Tesco Finest

16

8

8

13

45

M&S Regular

10

3

5

5

23

M&S Star

10

8

5

8

31

Sainsbury

26

2

3

3

34

Asda

16

8

2

8

34

Asda iced

16

8

5

5

34

Iceland

16

8

8

13

45

Waitrose

16

5

3

3

27

Waitrose Premium

6

2

3

3

14

Waitrose puff

10

5

5

3

23



Perhaps I love mince pies a bit too much. At least, looking at my waistline I do. But we’ll just pretend it was all in the name of an Agile sizing process.

Mince pie collage.jpg

---

The process we have followed in reviewing Mince Pies is a nice simple technique that can be used for prioritising requirements where there are multiple criteria to consider.   


Rather than in our Mince Pie example where we relatively sized the Cost, Freshness, Pastry and Filling, to establish our favoured Mince Pie, when prioritising requirements maybe you could relatively size criteria like Revenue, Risk, Importance, Cost, Time, Opportunity. Simply follow a similar approach using the Story Point / Fibonacci sequence. First, pick one of the requirements and score all of the criteria; this then becomes your baseline. Use this baselined score to relatively score the other requirements criteria against.


You too may consider weighting one of the criteria if that one criteria is more important to you.


Merry Christmas & Happy Scoring!


Want to learn more about story points, prioritisation, relative scoring? Check out our BCS Agile Foundations course.

View BCS Agile Foundations courses

BTW: Mum’s just gone to Iceland :)

Author

Alex Gray

Alex Gray

Alex is a professional, versatile and enthusiastic Lean & Agile Trainer/Coach with 20 year’s experience in varied IT projects and roles. A member of the BCS Agile Expert Panel, and an author of the BCS Foundation in Agile Practices syllabus, examination and course materials. Read more