Throughout any typical day of our business life, and even our personal life, we have to prioritize what we need to do. This applies also to any ventures which we are planning and this is what we call Prioritization Management.
We always have a lot of things on our plates or we have tons of projects or initiatives that we want to accomplish but do we approach them the right way? … that’s what we will be discussing in this article by describing some approaches and thoughts on how to Prioritize.
(Quick note: This document is by no mean a training on the methodology but a high-level description so that you can understand the essence. Also, this is one version of a Prioritization Management Methodology and there are several out there following different approaches with different flavours. You are free to pick and choose and even combine.)
So what is this so-called Prioritization Management Methodology? It’s a way of thinking and approaching all the initiatives you have placed in front of you and understanding how many you should take at the same time in order to apply proper Time Management (more on this in my recent blog about Time Management Methodology).
In business, you are bombarded with Company initiatives, Projects initiatives, Development initiatives and many, many more which requires you to figure out when things must be accomplished since everything always has to happen at the same time.
Unfortunately, we can do so much and we forget to analyze which ones should come first.
So what’s the conclusion as to when? … well pretty much all the time!
Throughout this document you will see me referring to the GOLDEN RULE, well that’s just a term to refer to a best practice based on Emyode’s experience in the field which, obviously, can be adapted to how you feel comfortable with. But at least it gives you a concept to start testing and applying a proper Prioritization Management approach.
In order to properly Prioritize, you need to take into consideration several factors which will support the final results. But before we dwelve into the subject, there is one thing to remember: You can prioritize until the cows come home, but bottom line is if you end up with too many prioritized items, you will never be able to accomplish them all.
So what do you do? Well … you limit yourself to a maximum of 5 priorities which, as a golden rule, is the magic number to manage. And when you’re done with one, you can add another to the list … so just keep it rolling with 5 in the spotlight.
Now lets get into the factors to consider:
FIRST: ESTIMATE THE BENEFITS
We always have tons of things we want to accomplish and we always see them as important. However, which one will have the greatest impact is not something that comes to mind initially. When you look at your list, make sure you take the following into consideration. They are not listed in any particular order.
- ALIGNEMENT: This means to ask yourself which one aligns with the overall Strategy of the organization or your ultimate goal. You will find that there are some things which are indeed in sync and you will suddenly find out the relationships between some of them and even a sequence in which they should be executed.
- WORTH: I know that this could be vast but try to focus on tangible benefits such as Return on Investment, Cost Reduction, Increase Revenues, etc. Just make sure it’s something that you will be able to do.
Once that you have the overall picture of the tasks you need to prioritize, just step back and try to find if any are or could be a pre-requisite to the other ones. We often miss that and then we find out that we should have accomplished our efforts in a different order to achieve even better results.
Oh yes, let’s not forget Risks! May sound weird to mention risks when you are going through Prioritization Management but remember since we align some Priorities with outside goals, you may put yourself at risk of jeopardizing yours and other third-party initiatives. This applies to the principle of Time Estimation. Once you’ve completed your Prioritization you will need to Estimate the efforts for each and then, as you all know, you need to add a Risk Factor to your estimates.
Rolling, Rolling, Rolling!
As mentioned, when you think of how many things can be accomplished and coordinated simultaneously, NUMBER 5 is the magic number.
This approach applies to pretty much everything. You should never dilute yourself too much because your accomplishment will take too long and you may lose focus and interest and get disappointed and discouraged because of it.
As I stated when I started this article, we all have tons of things to do which can bring lots of value to the organization we work for and also for us as individual. Now you’ve found out new ideas and approaches on how to Prioritize and hopefully you’ll get more and fasters results from it.
… yep, Conclusion means you’ve reached the end … until next time!