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What are the project priorities? Why this is important? How to handle this?

Project Prioritization:

Project prioritization in simple terms is about focusing on most important project. Project prioritization is done on the basis of urgency and value to decide which project needs resources to be diverted.

This process involves evaluating and ranking the projects based upon criteria set by organization and potential return on investment. These are applicable to all departments and projects worked upon by those departments.


What are project priorities?

There can be multiple deciders for determining priorities in project. These priorities depend upon project and senior managers in particular organization, these priorities are listed below:

  1. Time utilized against time remaining
  2. Money spent against money available
  3. Resources available against required resources
  4. Client requirements

Project and senior managers asses projects through these factors and determine which project needs to be attended.


Why project prioritization is important?

  1. To make best use of available resources: In any organization there are specific amount of resources available, these resources can be people, technology, hardware and money. These resources need modification from time to time as per urgency and value of projects. By prioritizing the projects organization can increase its productivity as resources are allocated optimally.
  2. To make high quality decisions: Many times, managers find it difficult to prioritize projects because there is always some degree of urgency and importance in all projects. By prioritizing projects organization can optimize amount of time and money spent on less urgent projects.
  3. To increase productivity of projects: Out of all ongoing projects there will be few projects which are highly productive and few will be less productive. In order to increase productivity from those lagging projects, prioritization helps to identify projects that need immediate attention. These projects can further be analyzed to find out core problem and solution can be presented thus, increasing in productivity.
  4. To improve execution efficiency: Once projects are prioritized it becomes easy to execute the same. There are no more distraction and misdirection on what’s important thus, leading to higher efficiency.

 How to prioritize projects?

  1. Identify, enlist and assess all projects: First identify all ongoing and upcoming projects and enlist them. For assessment of these projects one must have clear understanding about organizational goal, objectives and strategy. Following are steps mentioned for assessment of projects:
  • Map all projects with details and initiatives
  • Identify projects that fit into predetermined organizational requirements
  • Determine whether upcoming project satisfies organizational requirements
  • See if there is enough time, money, people and other resources available to make the project successful

After assessing all projects through above mentioned steps, record the outcomes and proceed further.

  1. Set criteria for project prioritization: Criteria for project prioritization are set as per organizational requirements. These are criteria that are used: Project feasibility, potential risks, return on investment, relative need to organization, business value, project length, resources required, and strategic alignment
  2. Selection of project prioritization methods: Once project prioritization criteria are determined for managing new and existing projects, next step is to choose project prioritization method.
  3. Aggressive and consistent project management: As projects are prioritized aggressive project management is required to focus on key areas of impact, long term strategy of organization and resource alignment.

Project Prioritization Methods:

  1. Scoring model: This method is simple to use but requires opinion from either subject matter expert or senior management. In this method predetermined criteria are given weightage in numerical value. High scored projects are considered as high priority projects
  2. Project prioritization matrix: It is a 2×2 table which compares importance and task urgency. Project prioritization matrix helps managers to compare several variables (criteria) on a single matrix. Top side of matrix denotes urgency and left side denotes importance of variables.
  3. Kano: Those features are identified which determine higher customer satisfaction in end product. Such projects are prioritized.
  4. Payback period: In simple terms, payback period is time required to recover returns from investment. For calculating payback period, ongoing expenses and future income is considered. This method does not account for potential risks.

About Mayuresh Gavali

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