Priority is key in keeping projects more smooth sailing. The reality is that all projects can pose a lot of challenges. Handling teams means handling various people with different degrees of proficiency and need. If you’re a project manager, it’s better to keep things in check to avoid this stress.
Let this guide help all project managers prioritize different aspects of any project. This way, nobody is cramming and beating around the deadlines, affecting all project phases. Any dedicated software team wouldn’t want to experience the stress of delays and negative client feedback.
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The first and probably easiest to understand is the ranking method. All tasks have a specific weight in the entire project, which also ties to the completion rate of the job. Generally, heavier tasks require more expertise or manpower. What happens if there are too many heavy tasks or all tasks are priority 1?
The ranking model allows teams to ponder the tasks requiring higher priority. Start by asking the right questions that affect the client and the team players involved.
- What is the estimated time it takes to finish the task?
- What is the value of the completed step to the stakeholders?
- Will the project speed up upon task completion?
- How much resource does it take to finish the task on time?
Questions that put a frame on the value of each step can rank all tasks accordingly. Naturally, the task with the highest score can require the most immediate work. Other heavy tasks maybe a little more flexible in some aspects to complete the project.
The ranking model considers many questions, i.e., factors to consider with all the tasks in the project. The scorecard method differs so that teams can only consider one or two elements at that time. This means that whichever factor is the most crucial is the priority. People are choosing the task that scores high for the selected characteristics.
For example, teams prioritize the factors of ROI and business strategy alignment. Team managers or team members need to score all the tasks according to the impact of the factors on ROI and business strategy alignment. That way, the direction of the project follows what the team values. Factors that drive real growth in the team are put as a top priority.
It’s very typical for all team players to disagree on a specific portion of the project. After all, people are handling very different things in the project. Each personal value and expertise can deter priorities in the project. This is where data comes in to mitigate effects.
Project managers can consider the data as the even ground for all people. As such, project managers should pull in data on task completion, project histories, and post-project figures, and as such. Numbers don’t lie, and teams should prioritize aspects and tasks that reflect priority from the numbers.
For example, the testing phase needs more time but guarantees the project’s revenue from the client. Then, members should gear up for that phase of the project.
Time frame model
Nobody likes stringent deadlines and pressing due dates. Where’s the fun in doing something when you are being forced to do it right away? Nevertheless, the reality is that all people are working for a deadline. Clients and teams sign a contract to complete projects for a specific time frame. Payments get affected by this, too, depending on the terms.
The time frame model scales down the priority to the tasks with the nearest deadline. The more staffing can handle the most ticking tasks by the closest deadline, the faster the project speeds up along its completion. It’s not a perfect model to base projects on; however, having time frames for the heavier tasks may mitigate and portion workloads according to priority.
HIPPO stands for the term “Highest Paid Person’s Opinion.” Some projects may not work well with ranking models and set time frames. However, the leadership and general manager of the project may affect the efficiency and ethic towards completing the prioritized.
HIPPO essentially means doing the tasks that the Highest Paid Person like the CEO will delegate. While the Highest Paid Person handles all other stakeholders, they can get input on which phases require faster time frames. This person can also negotiate which factors to prioritize that can serve as common ground with the stakeholders looking for a finished project.
Aayush Kumar Gupta is the founder and creator of ExploringBits, a website dedicated to providing useful content for people passionate about Engineering and Technology. Aayush has completed his Bachelor of Technology (Computer Science & Engineering) from 2018-2022. From July 2022, Aayush has been working as a full-time Devops Engineer.