How do you prioritise your projects?

Colin Ellis recommends using Stephen R. Covey’s ‘First Things First’ model.

By Colin Ellis
Dec. 12, 2016

I - Anything that is broken and like to affect business as usual; anything that is deadline driven, or any project that helps you exploits an opportunity needs to be in the first 1-6 months. In reality, if you want to start these projects on July 1, then you need to have the planning completed by June 30th, otherwise you're going to start behind.

II - Most of your projects will fit into the important/not urgent and need to be planned in accordance with their ROI. For example, if a project will give you a return within six months, it makes sense to do this first as you may see the returns this financial year.

III - Projects that are urgent but not important should be scheduled towards the end of the financial year, however, providing you haven't over committed resources, these are the ones you can bring forward should they become important. You should only ever plan to commit 75 per cent of your capacity in order to accommodate the unknowns.

IV - Everything in here is likely to be a pet project and should be put on a 'if we get the time and money, we'll do it' list. If you want to be more efficient, then you should kill these at the strategic planning stage and ask the sponsor to bring it back next year.

Once you have prioritised your portfolio, you should revisit it at least quarterly to ensure that you're still doing the first things first and in the right way. I haven't worked with an organisation yet that fully delivered the portfolio they planned at the business planning stage.

To respond to market conditions and the changing organisational landscape, consistently replanning the portfolio is critical for success and morale.

Source: CIO AU 

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