Boston charts and Backlog Prioritization

by Tobias Lekman, 13 February, 2011

A week back I was discussing the use of scatter charts with a colleague of mine during backlog prioritization. I am now attempting to automate this process in Microsoft Excel.

The problem with backlog prioritization is that often only the business priority is considered. By combining the complexity and risk of the task we can see that objectives that are both easy to do and has a large impact on the business should be prioritized.

The idea was to combine the clients business priority with our measure of perceived risk and priority. This gave us a scatter matrix graph. Note that both values was entered in percentage values where 100 is the high number.


By adding an overlay according to the Boston Chart type, we can see that

      • Requirements with high business value and low risk/complexity give the highest backlog priority
      • Requirements with low business value and high risk/complexity give the lowest backlog priority

The source data also contains a small calculation to give the weighted combined priority which can be overridden with the “adjusted priority” field.


You can download the Excel file from my CodePlex site.

To get the hover labels, you also need Rob Bovey’s Chart Labeler.