Effective Approaches to Project Prioritization

It’s human nature to do the work you’re excited about first. And while that might not make that big of a difference when the list is dishes or take trash out, it certainly has an impact within an organization. Claire Schwartz recognizes how important a good project prioritization routine is, and uses this post to explain some ways to ensure that effective project prioritization takes place. Project prioritization is, Schwartz states, a strategic effort. Being strategic means that it doesn’t concern itself with the day-to-day operation of the organization. Rather, project prioritization focuses on the long term direction of the company. Prioritization must also be repeatable — both in the way it determines a project’s priority and how it adjusts priorities given new information or guidance from top stakeholders. On the subject of standardization, Schwartz writes:
While there are a number of techniques for achieving consistency in evaluation, the most popular is accomplished with a scoring model. The scoring model consists of a set standard criteria that reflect the key attributes of a project to be considered in the prioritization process and a set of measures or ‘scores’ that will assign a value to each criteria. For example, let’s say that one of our evaluation criteria is cost reduction. In building our scoring model we’ve decided that any project expected to reduce costs by more than $1M will receive the highest score value and any cost savings less than $10K should receive the lowest. We can also establish intermediate score values to represent the levels between the highest and lowest levels between our highest and lowest values. By providing the criteria with pre-defined values we have the ability to compare projects on an “╦ťapples to apples’ basis.

She then goes on, listing criteria identification, consideration of strategic objectives, and defining criteria & scoring values as essential for creating good scoring models.

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