Getting your priorities right … P0, P1, P2, …

Since I have started working at Microsoft I have had to absorb and remember a forest of acronyms and when it comes to assigning priorities to work items, issues or bugs, we encounter the P? acronym. BugHere is a short summary of the priorities we deal with:

P0 Do not do anything else, this is a blocker.
You can think of the Lancaster bomber flying over the English channel with 4 engines on fire … getting the fires out is a P0 priority.
P1 Must be fixed.
P2 Should be fixed, time and resource permitting.
P3 Might get fixed.
P4 Noted … this is one step away from the black hole.

What priorities are you using? I would be interested to see how others are managing their priorities within Team Foundation Server (TFS) and other ALM environments.

Comments (5)

  1. Ant says:


    M – Must have

    S – Should have

    C – Could have

    W – Wish list

  2. EOW says:

    P0 – Dead in the water, system is down or is corrupting data

    P1 – Critical issue for which there is no work around and a certain process cannot continue, but other areas of the system are still functioning

    p2 – Bug, but there is a reasonable workaround and will be addressed in next service pack

    P3 – Minor bug (typo, harmless, or otherwise) that will be fixed when time is available (i.e. almost never)

  3. Analyst says:

    p0 Due in 30 minutes with a conversation

    p1 due in 30 minutes

    p2 due EOD

    p3 just do it tomorrow or the day after

    p5 ill ask you a question EOD to return to p3 status

  4. analyst says:

    p0 Due in 30 minutes with a conversation

    p1 due in 30 minutes

    p2 due EOD

    p3 just do it tomorrow or the day after

    p5 I don’t have time right now but ill take a look and email you a suggestion

  5. Conan says:

    P0- "Must-now". Don't do anything else. May have to sleep less tonight. There is business loss already. The longer it's not fixed, the longer the product and the team are in Failure state.

    P1 – "Must-have". Must meet its deadline, otherwise there will be significant business loss, the product cannot ship, and team fails.

    P2 – "Important to have". If not fixed, will lose nontrivial portion of customers or business according to track record, customer feedback or quantitative analysis.

    P3 – "Nice to have". No quantitative data showing that there will be significant customer/business loss if not fixed, or gain otherwise. Done only in special occasions such as during a team morale, a marketing campaign or customer engagement.

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