How Project Managers can Prioritize for Faster Strategy Implementation

how-project-managers-can-prioritize-for-faster-strategy-implementationPrioritizing projects can seem time consuming when you’re on a tight schedule, but failing to prioritize can waste even more time and money down the line. Prioritization helps ensure growth of the organization and avoidance of expensive setbacks. When projects that support an organization’s business goals are given priority, return on investment is maximized through proper allocation of resources,

There is no one definition for what makes a project “right.” However, a project manager can help the organization determine which projects can promote faster strategy implementation by following these guidelines for prioritization.

Maximizing Benefits

Stakeholders who balk at prioritization often do so in the belief that all projects are important. The fact is, if all projects are perceived as of equal importance, then the organization may run out of time and money before any projects are completed. Once stakeholders– who include project managers, product owners, sponsors, customers and users — understand that prioritization is necessary to maximize benefits with limited resources, they will have more buy-in with the process. Collaboration is key, as managers, developers and stakeholders work on priorities despite conflicting views.

Determining Priorities

The first step in prioritizing is determining which criteria to use to rank projects. Among those you might consider: return on investment, budget, human resources and organizational priorities.

Budget: Consider margin for error and risk exposure, and how they may impact overrun of a budget. These factors could determine whether a project is prioritized or eliminated. Also ask if the project is funded internally or externally. Stakes can be higher when funding sources are external, with delays or quality issues resulting in contract disputes and legal damages. It’s also worthwhile to ask if funding of a project depends on the completion of another project.

Human Resources: Ask yourself if your team has the right human resources to complete the project. Will your staff require training, or will you need to pull in external team members?

Return On Investment (ROI): This is, of course, generally the top reason for assigning a high priority to a project. When the economy is on the upswing, revenue-producing projects are generally favored, but in tougher times, costs may be a more important factor in assigning priority.

Organizational Priorities: ROI is important, but so is contributing to the company’s long-term strategic goals. You should consider if a project will fulfill some strategy important to future direction of the business or organization.

Another important criterion might be time: can the team implement and complete the project in a reasonable time?

Methods of Prioritizing

Ranking priorities can be done in several ways. One method is to assign each project a high, medium or low value. Whether you are ranking priorities with a team or doing it yourself, you total up the numbers and top numbers determine priorities.

Another group method, called the nominal group technique (NGT), involves assigning the most important project a value of 1, the second most gets a value of 2, and on. The values are totaled, and the one with the lowest value is ranked highest priority, and so on. A variation of this is to limit ranking to a certain number of projects. Projects that aren’t ranked can be considered later.

The key thing to remember when ranking projects by scores is that the numbers have no value unless those assigning them are guided by the agreed-upon criteria. It is the project manager’s duty, whether prioritizing alone, or leading stakeholders in a collaborative process, to ensure this happens.

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Accountability and Optimal Performance

accountability-and-optimal-performance

When it comes to accountability in project management being able to manage your team’s performance is critical. Accountability is critical to keep your team set up for success and your project on track. Today, we will talk about how to use specific steps to use accountability to ensure success for your entire team. Let’s get started!

8 Tips for Success

These eight tips will set up not only the project manager, but also the underlying team so that they are successful too.

Set Targets: It’s easier to know what the team is shooting for if you set targets. What target are they aiming for, not only as your team but also individually?

Conduct Reviews: On a regular and scheduled basis throughout a project. It’s important to point out if a team member is missing a target that they know about it so they can stay focused on hitting that target.

Provide Feedback: People are comfortable with positive feedback as it comes as it comes as a positive influence on doing a good job. Negative feedback can be hard at times but if you learn how to word it correctly, it can come as a stepping stone to helping a person. As a project manager you will want to ask your team the questions, how can I help support you and what do you need to succeed? This will open up communication for your team members to succeed on the current project.

Track Performance: In terms of metrics it’s important to have specific factors in place that measure that you are improving. It’s also to measure what you want to improve as well and make a list of what you want to increase and decrease.

Celebrate Success: Most teams wait until the end of a project to celebrate, and it’s better to create milestones and celebrate when you come to them. This can be accomplished easily by taking your team out to lunch, taking them out for a round of drinks, and even giving the team a day off.

Reward Team Behavior: In this method it rewards the team instead of an individual. An example of this would be looking at LeBron James playing basketball. Most people recognize that LeBron plays for the Lakers, and he is a superstar, but no one seems to know the rest of the team. In reality though the rest of the team is just as important as James is and recognize collectively how important they are. If you want team performance than you have to reward team behavior.

Release or Bench Poor Performers: You might be in that situation where one person is dragging down the rest of the team as they might have a negative attitude this can affect your team members who are trying. Sometimes this person might not be trained for the position they’re set in, and they get frustrated by this. In this situation if you have the power to relocate this person to another team where their skill set is best used is the best method.

Select for Talent: If you want a project that goes smoothly and can meet all expectations than choose a team that exceeds in the areas of their strength.

When you look at how you are accountable for your team’s success in project management, then you should consider the following tips to keep your team at an optimal performance. Being able to be supportive and encouraging your team’s performance is a team effort and making your project a successful one hangs in the balance.