It never ceases to amaze me that as freakingly smart I think I am, how stupid I appear when someone like Ron Jeffries steps into the conversation. He suggested an easier approach to prioritization that Kent Beck and Ward Cunningham taught him:
- Write the ten items, one per card, on ten cards.
- Pick a card and put it on the table.
- Pick another card, and put it to the left of the first card, if it's higher priority, to the right if less.
- Pick another card. Position it to the right or left, or in between the preceding two.
- Repeat until all cards are down.
- Look at the cards pairwise, switching their positions until you're happy.
No muss, no fuss, no wear and tear on your calculator. Works in a group, too.
Just to note that the matrix approach I posted about doesn’t really scale very well. As you get 50 backlog items you’re now comparing over 2000 individual items so maybe just looking at each item and doing something like the excercise above works better in this case.