I bet your company or organization has a "wish list". 

I was recently working with a client who was burdened with the task of figuring out how to clean up her organization's "wish list", which had been growing for years.
After discussing how the wish list "worked" (i.e. it DIDN'T work for anyone), it was obvious that she needed a radical approach for going through and cleaning up the list. 

If you've ever been in her shoes, this post is for you.

In the post (and video) below, I explain how to kill your organization's wish list in just 4 steps.

If your organization has a “wish list”, and you are in a position where you influence planning and prioritization (product manager, product owner, project manager), then this is for you.

How To Kill Your Organization's Wish List in 4 Steps

After you watch the video, I would love to hear from YOU:

  1. Does your company or organization have a "wish list"?
  2. Does this strategy sound like something you could implement, or that you could pass along to someone to help manage your never-ending wish list? 
  3. What concerns do you have about implementing the 4 steps discussed in the video?

In case you didn't get a chance to watch the video, here are the 4 steps to killing your organization's wish list:

1)    Set a deadline for when the current wish list will go away:
Announce to the organization that the “wish list” will be going away in X number of days.
Personally, I would stick with as short of a timeframe as possible. If 2 days is feasible for you, then go for it. If, for some reason, you have a huge team of people who contribute to the wish list and they’re geographically dispersed, then maybe you will want to give them a little more time.
My challenge to you: Keep the deadline to no more than one week.

2)    Everyone selects their top, most critical 2 – 3 items from the list:
Everyone who has put something on the wish list gets to choose 2-3 things that are most critical and important to them to bring to the table by the deadline.
In addition to selecting the items they consider most critical, people must have a justification for why those items are important. The justification should generally fit in with the org’s current goals and direction.

3)     Deadline Day: Delete that wish list (really).
On the day that you have set as the deadline, delete the contents of your organization’s wish list. Really. Do it. You gave people enough of a warning, so now it’s time to follow through.
(Pro tip: If you’re really concerned about losing some historical data, you can keep a secret export of the wish list somewhere that nobody knows about. Just don’t tell anyone that you did it. Shhhhh!)

4)    Have a Discussion:

a) Listen to the justification – if something fits in with the vision and goals of your org, add it to your backlog
b) If it doesn’t fit, then it’s gone

Remember: If something is important enough, you’ll hear about it, and instead of leaving it to gather cobwebs, it will now go onto your backlog where it belongs

So go forth, kill your organization’s wish list, and experience the freedom and peace of mind that comes with one less list you have to maintain and worry about!

As always, feedback and suggestions on the content, presentation, and delivery of material on this site are always welcome.

Leave a comment with your thoughts, or send me an email by clicking "Contact" in the header.

Thanks for sticking around and watching my first video experiment!