The Power Of Prioritization

How Scrum Masters Can Benefit From The Eisenhower Principle

Britta Ollrogge, MBA

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Busy people
Photo by Rostyslav Savchyn on Unsplash

As a Scrum Master, helping to set priorities is crucial to your role. You support the team to work on the user stories with the highest priority and ensure that everything moves forward as planned. However, defining which tasks to focus on can be challenging. That’s where the Eisenhower Principle comes in.

The Eisenhower Principle is a simple but powerful tool that can help to prioritize tasks by focusing on their urgency and importance. The principle was named after Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th president of the United States and a five-star general in the US Army. He famously said, “What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important.”

So, how does the Eisenhower Principle work? It involves categorizing tasks based on their urgency and importance:

  1. Urgent and Important: These tasks must be done immediately, such as dealing with a critical production issue or resolving a high-priority customer complaint.
  2. Important but Not Urgent: These are important but not time-sensitive tasks. They may include long-term planning, professional development, or improving team processes.
  3. Urgent but Not Important: These tasks require immediate attention but are not critical to the team’s success. They may include responding to non-critical emails, attending non-critical meetings, or resolving non-critical issues.
  4. Not Urgent and Not Important: These tasks can be deferred or eliminated, such as time-wasting activities or distractions.

The Eisenhower Principle can help everyone in the Scrum Team to prioritize and focus on what is truly important.

Here are five tips for applying the principle to your work:

  1. Use a Kanban Board: Usually, the developers use a Kanban board to visualize the flow during a Sprint. Also, for you as a Scrum Master, working with a Kanban board can be beneficial. Using a Kanban board aligns well with the Eisenhower Principle by visually representing the urgency and importance of tasks. By using separate columns for each category, you can easily see which tasks require immediate attention and which can wait. That lets you…

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Britta Ollrogge, MBA

I write on Self Improvement 🌱, Productivity 🎯, and Agile Product Development 🏄. My goal is to inspire.💡https://www.britta-ollrogge-consulting.com