The Juice-to-Squeeze Ratio

The Juice-to-Squeeze Ratio
Photo by Rae Wallis / Unsplash

My go-to line at work is, "what's the juice-to-squeeze on this?".

Juice-to-Squeeze is shorthand for "how much value will we get out of the effort required to deliver what you're asking for?". It's used to ensure that we remain focused on what can provide us the most value, or at least being aware of when we are not.

When you are deciding on what to work on, a value assessment is key. Without this, we are drawn to whatever is new and shiny, not necessarily what we should be working on.

Value is of course subjective and highly dependent on the situation. For a business, value might be fixing a critical problem impacting all of its customers, or releasing a new feature that would put them ahead of their competition. For an individual, it might mean prioritizing health over making an extra $50. And there are a plethora of considerations to take into account when making that value assessment.

We can't forget about the time aspect as well. Something which doesn't provide a ton of value but takes a few minutes to take care of can still sit high on the juice-to-squeeze ratio because of how fast it is.

As an example, at work there was a field on a page that was marked as required even though it wasn't, and that confusion caused a lot of our customers to call in. Our service staff had gotten into the habit of telling our customers to just put any value in there because it didn't matter. With a 15-minute fix, we addressed that issue with our next release. A simple fix and a few fewer calls to our support line; it's paid for itself multiple times over already.

It doesn't take long, but going through that value assessment means you can spend your time doing what matters.