The prioritization of Stories is a core practice in the Scrum agile development process. In fact it is probably the single most important responsibility of the Product Owner – making sure the Product Backlog is prioritized properly to maximize business value (a.k.a ROI). However, there is a common anti-pattern that I see regularly in which the Product Owner and the Delivery Team act complicitly to establish a priority order for Stories that are being committed too within a single Sprint. The need to do this comes from a negative place and it has dramatic consequences for the Delivery Team.
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