How to Prioritize Your Team’s Work with the 60-30-10 Rule

Matthew Zammit

Jan 13, 2023

As a leader, it’s important to guide your team in prioritizing their work effectively. A popular approach for startups is to use content buckets.

The three content buckets that I use with my teams are customer quality of life improvements, new initiatives, and stability and infrastructure. The split of effort between these buckets roughly follows the 60-30-10 rule, but the exact split can vary depending on different factors like product maturity, team, market, and other important needs.

Customer Quality of Life Improvements (60%)

One of the key focuses for startups should be to continuously improve the customer experience. This bucket covers incremental changes that can be made to enhance the quality of life for your customers. These changes can range from small updates to existing features to larger improvements that make the overall experience better.

New Initiatives (30%)

This bucket is dedicated to new, big bets that the team is working on. It’s important to limit the number of ongoing initiatives in this bucket to one or two, as the focus should be on executing a few high-impact projects well. This helps avoid spreading the team too thin, and ensures that their efforts are focused on driving meaningful results.

Stability and Infrastructure (10%)

While often overlooked, stability and infrastructure are critical to the success of any product. This bucket covers work that needs to be done to address technical debt, improve internal processes, and optimize the infrastructure for better performance. By dedicating time and resources to these tasks, you can ensure that your product remains strong and resilient even as it grows.

In conclusion, the 60-30-10 split is just a rough guideline, and the exact distribution of effort between the buckets will vary depending on the situation. But for startups, it is especially important to have a clear structure that your team can use to prioritize their work based on principles. With the three content buckets in place, you can ensure that your team is making the most of their time, and that you’re delivering the best possible experience for your customers. This will help your startup stand out from the competition and ensure long-term success.