Donut Prioritization

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Identification
Alternative names: 
Donut method
Level of process: 
Method
Intent or purpose: 
To prioritize tasks into three levels and to create a quarter timeline.
Used as component of: 
An action planning session
Recognizable Components: 
Grouping actions, setting up a timeline for implementaiton
Types of Participants: 
Recommended size of group: 
11-25
unknown
Optimal amount of time needed: 
1 - 2 hours
Howto
Usual or Expected Outcomes: 
Shared implementation plan, sense that all perspectives have been discussed
Level of participation: 
active
Ideal Conditions: 
A large empty wall space for the group to work on
Potential Pitfalls: 
How is success evaluated: 
Examples of successes and failures: 
Type of Facilitator-Client Relationship: 
Level of Difficulty to Facilitate: 
Not set
Facilitator Personality Fit: 
Setting and Materials: 
Resources Needed: 
Pre-Work Required: 
Preparation: • Paper a wall and draw a big donut. The number of items that can reasonably be considered critical determines the size of the center of the donut. • Make a post-it note for each item up for consideration, and put all of the post-its on the donut itself.
Procedures: 

Procedures:
• The center of the donut means, "There's no point in doing anything at all if we can't do these." The area outside the donut means "we can't/won't do these at this time", perhaps because of sequencing issues (prerequisites), budget, feasibility... The donut itself means, "These are all be great things to do if and when we can."

• Open up the discussion to moving items inside or outside the ring.

• Test every item going into the center, "Do we HAVE to do it right now?" You may have to redefine some items into workable blocks.

• You should end up with a very workable set of absolute requirements. The fact that the items on the ring are desirable seems to make it easier for people to leave things there.

• Next, put up some more paper. Take the items on the donut and have the group place them on the second sheet of paper in a rough timeline. They should be able to group less critical items into logical units of work, and they should be able to describe/name each of the subsequent groupings. They will also likely identify a number of items that are relatively cheap and easy and might as well be done with the first round --- but they should remain as "second tier" items, with the understanding that we want to do everything in the second tier, but we can delay any of those for time, budget, or any other issues.

• A real key to this is that you don't have to argue the validity of every item. You respect the importance of everything on the wall, even those that won't make the first cut. And you open up the possibility of managing the amount of work as the group moves forward.

• The group will leave the session with a first phase and a sense of what the next phases will be based around. They should expect to repeat the exercise periodically, because things change --- make sure they don't think they are truly defining the next 5 phases, only setting a long-range direction.

How flexible is the process?: 
Very
Follow-Up Required: 
Background
Developer: 
maryjackson@pdq.net
Derived from: 
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