First Things First: Prioritizing Projects in the Context of Organizational Constraints
How do you prioritize projects in the context of organizational constraints? Are you challenged with multiple demand channels, competing priorities and poor understanding of the supply-side resources? If you’re like most organizations, there is much more demand than there are resources, so it becomes critical to have a good demand and investment management mechanisms in place to help support the prioritization of work efforts.
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Here are four considerations for effective project prioritization:
- Understand Your Demand. Prioritization starts with assessing and qualifying demand. This includes business case development, technical & architectural assessments and rough order of magnitude estimates. Understanding risks, value, costs and size are all important early in the demand process. Tune your process to capture the essential information necessary to move to the next stage.
- Strategic Alignment to the Enterprise. There needs to be a clear understanding of how IT supports and enables business objectives. This means that the services IT is delivering have clear value connectors to the rest of the organization. Investment prioritization includes understanding how your services impact your customers and your business partner’s ability to meet their goals. Absent service value, funding IT projects too often ends up being based on technical value or is skewed by organizational bias. I think we’ve all experienced projects like this that have not lived up to their promises.
- Strong governance. Good investment governance leans heavily on the demand process and includes both strategic and operational efforts. Many IT organizations focus on one or the other—or have two separate mechanisms—but both need to work together to get an accurate picture of work in flight and work being planned. Strong governance includes the ability to incorporate proactive business participation and linkage to key suppliers of services across the IT landscape. When built properly, your governance should include the ability to manage the intersections of process, service and technology. These all need to be aligned to make good prioritization decisions.
- Understanding Your Resources Availability. Understanding organizational and IT capacity is also necessary to make good prioritization decisions. All your demand governance will be rendered ineffective without a proper understanding of the supply side. This includes understanding critical path resources that every organization struggles with.
If you’re struggling understanding your demand in the context of organizational priorities or suffering from projects that don’t deliver on expectations, Cask can help. We can identify quick wins and get on you on path that will provide value to you and your business partners.