Success sliders exercise — how to agree what matters

By Nathan Donaldson


Car headlights sweeping upwards at night. Success sliders help you gain agreement about your destination.

One of the first activities we undertake at the beginning of a development project is having our clients take the team through their vision for the project. Sometimes our clients need a little help forming that vision, especially for green fields projects. In this post we’ll take you through how Success sliders works and how it helps to further define what will constitute project success. You’ll learn how it can be valuable part of a Project kick-off workshop.

How to run the Success sliders exercise

Step 1 – Set up a poster or whiteboard in a grid of 6 rows by 5 columns.

Step 2 – Label the rows with your success factors. In this case we’ve chosen subjects common to software development projects. Number the columns 1-5, 1 being least important and 5 being most important.

Step 3 – Place post it notes in column 3 of each row. Tell your workshop attendees that they are now invited to rank the success factors from most important to least important for each item. The only constraints are that the total value of rankings must equal 18 and they must work together to agree.

A completed Success Sliders exercise.


Above is an example of how one client ranked these items during a workshop.

Not only is this a good way of determining which success factors are more important than others, it’s also a really good first look at prioritisation. People often struggle with prioritisation and tend to regard every item as the most important. Placing a constraint on the total numerical value forces the team to consider what’s really most important and helps them to understand the nature of trade-offs.

Further reading

Check out the Agile Project Kick-off Kit

Watch The Board episode on Project Kick-offs

Agile training

In New Zealand and keen to train with the team who put together the Kick-off kit? Learn more about our Agile training:

Agile Professional Foundation certification, Wellington, NZ – two-day ICAgile course

Introduction to Agile methodology, Wellington, NZ – free two-hour workshop

Agile Accelerator team assessment – Agile review and action plan

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