Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize

[Tutorial Tuesday]

How do you know which project you should be working on? Which project is the most important to the organization right now? Are you making decisions about your work consistently?

Here is a quick way to prioritize your project list.

Choose your top 5 criteria for working on a project. Don’t choose much more than 5. If you have too many priority criteria your company (or your life isn’t focused enough.) If you can’t summarize your priorities in an elevator speech, or a 30 second introduction when someone asks what you do, you need to spend time deciding on what your focus is.

For each one of your priorities decides the relative weight of importance compared to the other ones. Choose your weight between one and 10. Only two of the priorities can have the same weight. All others much have different weights. (Though it is possible that everything has a different weight.)

Then lay out your priorities for your projects horizontally. You will end up with a table that looks like this.

Next, add all of your projects in a column to the left. List all of the projects that you can think of.

Then for each project decide on the weight that you give to each selection criteria. 0 means that this project doesn’t align with the criteria. 10 means that the project does.

Once you have done your weighing process, you will need to add a score column. The score column takes the score you gave criteria one and multiplies it by the weight and then adds it to the score you gave to criteria two multiplied its importance, etc.

Once you have scored your projects and added up the totals, you will have a clear picture of what you should be working on next. The highest scored project is the one that is the clear winner.

A sample prioritization spreadsheet can be downloaded here.

I hope that this gives you ideas about how you can prioritize your projects. For other examples of how to use this spreadsheet, you can search “project prioritization matrix.”