As a business leader, it can be very challenging to oversee various projects at once. In addition to that, you have to streamline resources, budget, and talent for individual projects.
You should ensure you are taking everything into account in order to complete all of them successfully. To do so, you need to know which project comes first and which comes next.
Project prioritization enables you and your team to set clear goals and timelines based on the importance of these projects.
It will also help you develop an easy-to-follow strategy to complete the work effectively. In other words, it will make the path to progress more efficient.
So, how to prioritize your company's projects? Although there are no shortcuts, there are multiple ways to achieve productive project prioritization. Let’s see how!
Project Prioritizing: A Quick Overview
Prioritization is the process of assigning a level of importance for each project that you are managing. The project with the highest level of significance will receive the most attention.
As the importance level descends, you will spend fewer resources on completing each subsequent project. However, even projects with lower priorities should still receive adequate resources and talent allocation. This is a process where you—
- Quantify the value of each project
- Align the projects with the overall business strategy
- Balance the projects and deliver them on time
A Step-By-Step Guide to Prioritizing Company Projects
According to research by McKinsey, project prioritization can improve performance by 40 percent. So, it becomes vital to carry out this strategic process.
Contrary to popular belief, project prioritization is not a budgeting process. Although it involves budget, it also requires resource allocation, team management, and in-project decisions.
Here's how you can go about an effective and profitable prioritization process:
Step #1. Determine Business Value of the Projects
You should start by examining each project on your list. When you do so, ask this question: How does this project align with the business interests?
You should primarily consider the business's bottom line. Additionally, it would be best to consider how it can affect the people in the team and your customers.
The best way to approach this is by having conversations with key stakeholders. Depending on the sophistication of the project, you can bring in team members to analyze it.
During your discussions, it is vital to address the following—
- Potential ROI
- Project timeline
- Potential to remove a disadvantage or establish a competitive advantage
- Requirement of resources
Step #2. Identify Important and Urgent Projects
After establishing the value each project provides to the business, you should move on to the next step. Now, you should analyze the important projects in terms of urgency.
You can use the time management matrix used by Stephen Covey to make this step easier. It includes four buckets and will help you decide the most important and the most urgent project.
Step #3. Assess Your Strength
Once you have shortlisted the urgent and important projects, you should assess their requirements.
Weigh the efforts and time required to complete this project while on priority. You should also prioritize them based on deadlines, if there are any.
You can clear smaller projects and then focus on the big ones. Alternatively, you can complete the most complex one and make way for smaller ones.
It is advisable to choose a method depending on what your team prefers.
Quick Tip: It is better to alternate between big and small projects. This way, your team will not have to experience the weight of working on complex projects one after the other continuously.
Step #4. Use a Ranking System
After assessing your strengths, you should assign a total score for the projects. You can employ any scoring methodology that makes the process easier.
However, it would be best to use simple methods to eliminate extra work and time on the scoring process.
For instance, you can use a simple High, Medium, and Low metric. This way, you can start working on the projects marked on a large scale first.
Further, you can allocate the resources and talents to the project ranked the highest before others.
Step #5. Review the Project Status
Once you start working on the projects based on priorities, it is crucial to review them regularly.
You have to establish and maintain a portfolio of ongoing projects. As the work progresses, you should update them regularly.
If the market conditions change and you receive new information, you can change the rankings of the projects. Further, you should regularly hold a review meeting with the key stakeholders and update the rankings.
Step #6. Implement a Delegation Strategy
As the work proceeds, you need to consistently focus on meeting the objectives. Therefore, delegate effectively and appropriately to your team. This will help them understand the importance of the projects.
Further, every team will have its unique strengths and weaknesses, so it is essential to consider them.
With that said, it is important to play to their strengths. Most importantly, define the desired outcome in detail and instruct them to meet deadlines.
The Role of Technology
It's wiser to employ age-old techniques and new technologies to your advantage. That's where platforms like StrategyX come in.
The software provides a platform to define, rank, and monitor projects. Additionally, it will let you track your team's performance on various projects at once through an integrated dashboard.
You can easily update your team and stakeholders as the market trends evolve and priorities change. This way, nothing slips through the cracks.
It isn't easy to decipher what's worth your team's efforts and resources. Nonetheless, by committing yourself to the task at hand and putting in the hours, you can get to the bottom of it.
Once you know where to focus, all you have to do is get together with your team and sketch out a plan. When you are ready with the plan, you can lead your team to the path for success.
Most importantly, it is crucial to keep the business's bottom line in mind every time you strategize.