The WSJF City Simulation: Program & Portfolio Prioritisation in Practice.

Martin Burns

Half-day workshop - in English


To discover and explore rational, economics-based prioritisation through
explanation, discussion and dramatised simulation, so that
we are prepared to use it in our own environment.

Don Reinertsen’s fully quantified Cost of Delay model for prioritising backlogs sourced from many stakeholders is inspired, but many organisations struggle with implementing it and abandon attempts to have a rational discussion about value because “it’s too hard to quantify in real money”. And often, it is hard to forecast real money, and other factors such as Risk really do play a part in understanding value.

This simulation provides a concrete model that enables exploration of a practical CoD prioritisation and sequencing model (based on the version used in SAFe) and an experience of operating it in a group setting.

The scenario involves a property developer building a satellite city and evaluating the Cost of Delay of various housing estates, shops and other developments. Initially framed at the Epic level, every group receives a list of 9 Epics to evaluate along with a good supply of planning poker cards...


My experience is that WSJF gives a fantastic language to talk about prioritisation with business stakeholders. I have used it at multiple layers of abstraction, all the way up to CxO level, with the consistent outcome of "We want this, and we want it NOW"

It is particularly effective when you have business stakeholders with conflicting interests and little shared management interest in resolving disputes. It gives a clear explanation (particularly those whose treasured features don't get prioritised) of why the order is what it is, and so signfiicantly reduces stakeholder conflict.

Primarily for: Project managers, Product developers, Agile coaches

Participant requirements: