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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Bullock

Why everything can’t be a P0

If you have ever worked for a startup or in software development, then you are probably familiar with this problem. Already overloaded with work, days before a version release when you receive an email alerting you to a P0 or priority 0 activity that must be fixed now. Of course, after receiving these types of emails in the past you are skeptical. After all, if everything is a high priority then ultimately nothing is.

Whether or not an issue is a P0 or not largely depends on the individual who raised it. After all different people prioritise and value things differently. This causes an issue for companies however and most companies would benefit from a clear idea of what a P0 is. Creating this clear definition stops a “person who cried wolf” scenario which just creates a desensitised workforce.

Your organisation will need its own definitions for P0, P1, P2 etc but here are some definitions that I have found useful.

P0 – These are the highest priority and best defined as so urgent that either an individual or the whole team is going to not sleep until it is resolved.

P1 – For this level of issue or task, an individual or team will stop current work and focus solely on this issue until it is resolved. Within normal operating hours.

P2 – This priority of work is in the queue of work to be completed and will be done once all higher priorities are completed and when weighed against other P2 activities.

P3 – These activities are completed by individuals or a team if there is nothing else to work on.

PX – You guessed it, these activities are parked (at least for now)

TAKEAWAY: Your organisation can go deeper or more granular with its priorities if appropriate, but the levels demonstrated in this framework should act as a solid starting point.


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