Project ManagementProject Portfolio Management

Start, Switch, Stop: Regrouping IT Projects

There is an incredible variety of potential projects that IT can undertake to improve itself and the business. The downside of that variety is that it can be hard to explain in a few words what each project is and how it matters. Andy Wolber shares a solution in an article for TechRepublic. He explains a simple way to group projects and tasks that will make it easier to understand the significance at a glance. The groupings are start, switch, and stop.


Items assigned to the “start” category entail that people will be learning or starting something new. If it is something fresh that will probably entail some training, it belongs in the start category. Next, the “switch” category indicates a switch is being made from one tool or process to another. In this case, people probably already understand the “why” of the tool or process, so they will only have to reeducate themselves on how to use the swapped tool or process. As Wolber notes, in some cases it may not require any new learning at all.

Lastly, there is the “stop” category, where old habits are stopped:

As such, these may meet the most resistance, since they require that people no longer work in the same manner as before. For example, stop faxing. You have a camera on your phone, many network printers also include a scanner, we have secure ways to share files (other than email), so stop faxing. Yet, a stunning number of healthcare systems continue to fax out of habit… A project goes on the “stop” list when technology has moved on, but habits haven’t. Stop projects often meet the most pushback because they require three changes, not one. People have to stop a prior habit, switch to an entirely different tool, and start to work in a new way.

An additional value of using this system is that it shows if there is a balance in the types of IT projects being conducted. If recorded in project management software or simply written down, it will become apparent at a glance if there is an overload of “switch” projects, for instance, which could indicate not enough real innovation is occurring.

You can start, stop, or switch the original article here:

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