Set Taxonomy on Confused

Today I found myself in a requirements database where a small group of people had come up with a priority scheme composed of three levels: Very Important, Must Do, and Critical. And I was stumped: what is the relative priority of these terms?  I, as it turns out, wasn’t the only one confused by this.  I did appear to be the first one outside of the core group to raise my hand and ask the question.  (I have the answer, but I’ll leave it as a guessing game in the comments for people).

User Experience (UX) is important on many levels, some times surprising ones.  Reusing words that people think they understand in ways they don’t causes a lot of confusion and adds a lot of confusion (and thus waste) to systems.  I did propose that priority words were annotated with a number, so those outside the core could get a handle on what’s going on, which was a well received comment, and will go into the next version of this tool.

9 thoughts on “Set Taxonomy on Confused”

  1. Those *are* pretty crap. I’d say that Critical would be the highest priority. Must Do is weird because I could see a lot of things that “we must do for this to work” but with a fairly low relative priority; if it is some sort of crucial bit of flair in the UI it doesn’t get priority over almost any business logic code, even if it’s a “must have” bit of shiny. Very Important is similar, in that it speaks more towards “can this be skipped this iteration” more than “how soon do we need this?” Basically, I only see Critical as even appropriate for measuring priority, never mind a clear ordering. It’s like saying, “Order these words from least to most angry: wet, furry, annoyed.”

    If I’m forced to use those, my low-to-high is probably Must Do, Very Important, Critical. But I’m also throwing a tantrum on the discussion section of every single work item.


  2. I think the order is:
    1 – Critical
    2 – Very Important
    3 – Must Do

    You can sort of guess that “Critical” is that the top place. The big problem is with the other two. Does something that I “Must Do” has a higher priority than something “Very Important”. The ambiguity of between those two is so perfect that I am laughing right now. literally. It’s sort of “ok, I have these leveled priorities. Are you ready? Cyan, White, Pink.”

    The reason I think “Must Do” is probably higher than “Very important” is because in a sense they are both must do’s. The very important must do just feels like it should be done sooner.

    You tell me 🙂


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