If you've ever tried to get a project off the ground, you know how hard it can be. The problem is that there's just so much on your plate, and sometimes it feels like everything is urgent.
In this article we'll talk about how to prioritize these projects and make sure they get done without sacrificing any of your sanity. We'll also discuss some of the different strategies for prioritizing projects, as well as providing a template that you can use to help streamline this process even further. Let's dive in!
The first step to prioritizing projects is to ensure that you have clear objectives for each project. The key here is not only to have clearly defined objectives, but also that all stakeholders understand exactly what they are. If you haven’t already done so, it may be helpful to have a quick meeting with your team or stakeholders and ask them what they think the objective of this particular project should be.
Once you have an understanding of what everyone thinks the objective should be, you need to decide which one(s) will work best for this specific project. (This decision should always align with your organization’s goals.) These objectives should be clear and measurable. For example, the objective “to improve customer satisfaction” isn't measurable and it is not possible to determine whether the project was a success whereas the objective “to increase revenue by 10%" can be easily measured!
The second step is to create a prioritization matrix. A prioritization matrix is a table with rows and columns. The rows are the projects or tasks you want to prioritize, and the columns are the criteria you will use for prioritizing them. In this case, we're going to be using our three criteria from above:
In this example, I've put my project ideas into rows of my matrix and then I've rated each one on its relative importance based on these three criteria. For example, in terms of impact, "update sign up flow" was rated as most important and urgent since it would directly affect our users' overall experience with us; meanwhile "create video for landing page" received a medium rating for urgency because while videos help increase conversion rates and retention rates (and therefore have high impact), they don't necessarily need to happen right away and might not be feasible with limited time or resources available.
Now that you've identified all the projects on your plate, it's time to break them down into smaller tasks. To do this effectively, start with the most important projects first and work your way down from there. When deciding how much time each task will take, think about everything that needs to be done for that project—including things like research and interviews—and then add an extra day or two for each task in case something unexpected comes up.
Once you have an idea of how long a particular project will take, estimate how much money it will cost by doing some research into similar projects in your industry. If possible, try asking colleagues what they expect the costs will be; any information can be helpful when trying to determine costs associated with certain jobs!
Now that we've covered estimating timeframes and costs for each project on our list—it's time to add them all up!
When you're done with this process, it's time to reflect on the results of your matrix. Are they what you expected? Does anything stand out as strange or surprising? If so, take some time to think about how your results might be skewed by something that wasn't taken into account in the matrix.
After reflecting on your prioritization matrix, make any changes that may be needed. Then re-prioritize all of your projects based on their new rankings and repeat steps 2-6 until you have a set of project priorities that is truly aligned with your objectives and goals.
Now that you've identified your highest priority projects, it's time to take action. If you can't implement all of the projects in your priority list, then there are two common strategies:
If neither of these approaches seems appropriate for prioritizing your projects and resources, then try a different method altogether! Be sure to document what works best for you so that next time around when prioritizing projects becomes necessary again (and trust us—it will), this process will go more smoothly than before.
If you’ve taken the time to learn about how to prioritize projects, you’re already ahead of the game. Now it’s time to apply those skills and start prioritizing your own projects. You can do this by first defining objectives for each project and then creating a prioritization matrix based on them. After you’ve done that, it is important that you reflect on your prioritization matrix regularly so that it stays up-to-date with ongoing changes in your organization’s needs or requirements for completing tasks successfully. Finally, once you have established which projects need to be completed by their deadlines based on their importance ratings, implement them accordingly—which means starting work right away!
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