Over the past couple of months I have had several discussions with companies and groups about their list of ongoing projects. Some of the questions I asked them are:
- Do you have a list of all of your projects (you would be surprised how many said no …)?
- Do you rank your projects, and if so how are you ranking them?
- Do you really have enough resources for all of your projects? If not, why are you trying to do them all at the same time?
- Do you review your projects, let’s say, quarterly to make sure you are focused on the right ones and to cut the ones where the market place has changed?
- Do you have this list in a common location for all to see (again, you would be surprised how many said no to this … really?)?
The key to making this ranking system work is having the correct ranking criteria for your organization prior to sitting down with the ‘deciders’. The ranking criteria will include things like project performance indicators, business value indicators, looking at the resources needed and finally things that are deemed important by your organization. Here is a short presentation that I put together using some of the concepts from a presentation by Barbara Schrage.
Once you have your rankings in, the debate is on to see if everyone agrees. The key is you want to have a balanced score card for your organization. Glen Alleman recently posted an excellent presentation on this topic:
The key to making this work is having something in place to rank your projects and a reason why they are ranked the way they are. Otherwise the top projects in your company will be someone’s pet project which may not help the strategic vision of your organization (I like to call these the chest thumper projects or the, whoever is the loudest has the highest ranking project).