To be honest, I have been meaning to write this post for years now, but never got around doing it. It took a recent incident (yes, let’s call it that) to remind me of this topic.

You know, priorities are funny. We are taught about priorities since our birth, yet, when we reach adult age, there are still people who seem totally incapable of understanding and handling priorities. The problem is that priorities are highly subjective and totally dependent on a person owning a task. That is why, you never ever let customers set priorities when reporting issues. For them, every issue is uber-important and thus has high priority. In reality, fixing a typo on an internal web page that only 1 person visits once per month can hardly be as important as let’s say, public application crashing, but that won’t stop people calling you up every 2 minutes and asking why the typo still remains.

But I understand all that. It is the same problem when you call admins that one of your specialized test servers is not working correctly and they don’t focus every inch of their attention to it. Understandable, they have more important work. What I don’t get is developers refusing to assign priorities to tasks assigned to them. There are so many benefits related to priorities. You get a better overview of which tasks need to be solved now and which can wait (and which can be thrown out and buried in the yard). You get better chance of hitting the deadline by not doing the tasks that are simply not important. You get more precise deadline. And you get to see if you have been “taking one for the team” a bit more than others and then complain to your boss.

But no, developers and project managers tend to leave priorities to default and then pretend that everything is equally important. And then you get developers painting a background of a textbox pink instead of churning away on important feature that will bring you profit and reputation. But hey, pink textboxes are important as well.