AS 01 - Lower Priority Tasks Executed First

In an agile project, the development team should focus on higher priority tasks. The Lower Priority Tasks Executed First smell is detected when tasks with lower priority are executed before tasks with higher priority. The occurrence of this smell may indicate that the development team has not worked on the highest priority tasks.


Agile Methods: Four agile method explicitly state that higher priority tasks must be executed first: Scrum, Crystal Methods, DSDM and OpenUP. For Scrum, the whole team should focus on the Sprint goal. In Crystal methods, the project leader should prioritize the goals that guide developers to focus on particular areas. In DSDM, to fulfill the principles Focus on the Business Need and Deliver On Time, DSDM teams must focus on business priorities. OpenUP teams must self-organize around how to accomplish iteration objectives and commit to delivering the results.


Industry Perspective: All survey participants confirmed that working on higher priority tasks is an important agile practice. However, a participant mentioned that exceptions are tolerated in situations where it is not possible to work on high priority tasks. As example, he cited a situation where an available worker does not have the required skills to perform a high-priority task. In this case, the worker is allowed to work on a less important tasks.


Identification Strategy: The occurrence of this smell could be detected by assessing the tasks execution history.


Parameters: No parameter was identified for this identification strategy.