Portfolio Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF)

WSJF using Total Epic Effort

“The standard advice within SAFe is that when it comes to prioritisation is use Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF). It is a useful simplification to stop Cost-Of-Delay discussions getting unnecessarily complex, but there is more depth to the mechanic than people would assume from reading the SAFe webpage”…

Ignore Sunk Costs Image

WSJF using Predicted Duration

“Weighted Shortest Job First works at the Release Train level because the timeboxes, the Program Increments, exist. The challenge is that at the Portfolio level, where Epics can last for long periods of time, then I suspect that the “Shortest Job First” part of “Weighted Shortest Job First” is going to cause some problems.” …

Example WSJF Table image

WSJF using Experimental Effort

Previous experiments looked at what happens when WSJF uses Total Epic Effort and when WSJF uses Predicted Duration to factor in swarming. The challenge still remains that important long term investments aren’t prioritised…

WSJF with Experimental Effort Example

WSJF; what would Don do?

WSJF as outlined within SAFe is a set of approximations and simplifications to allow the calculations to be done quickly and repeatedly. The results are good enough for prioritising features within a Program Increment but as we have seen in the earlier experiments; they start to suffer at the Portfolio level where there is a need to balance Short Term wins against Long Term investment…

SAFe Summit WSJF Example Image

WSJF Considering Risk Factors

Why not explore whether some of the techniques from Risk Management might help? After all; Portfolio Management, at a certain level of abstraction, is effectively risk management. Managing the risk that what we’re doing might not get the outcomes we desire…

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WSJF Within Horizons

Use the Investment Horizons to keep Portfolio WSJF simple by running the WSJF within the Horizons. This means that you are comparing like with like; Horizon 3 (blue sky ideas) with long lead times are being compared against other long lead time items.

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