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The order in which a software development team puts their backlog items—or necessary technical tasks—into effect determines when stakeholders can reap benefits from each piece of software functionality.

This can substantially impact market timing, enterprise earnings, and—frankly—whether or not a project manager keeps his or her job.

There are several ways to create a backlog, and sophisticated methods and tools exist to do so. But no matter what scheme you use, you ought to be explicit on the order about potential business value.

To that end, industry researchers have developed methods to express business value relative to cost in your backlog.

In their article “Earned Business Value: See That You Deliver Value to Your Customer,” appearing in the July/August 2017 issue of IEEE Software, Jo Erskine Hannay, Hans Christian Benestad, and Kjetil Strand have developed a system to monitor how much potential business value, in addition to cost expended, companies can realize along the way.