Is your IT department inundated with assigned projects — all of which are given the utmost priority? Most IT managers will probably say “yes.” What your department needs is a guideline for prioritizing ITSM projects, and you’re in luck because here it is.
1. List and Define the Projects to be Done
Start by listing all of the projects. Define each project, including notations about how long each project should take, what resources will be required to complete each project, how much value the project stands to provide the organization, and how urgent the project is. With a working list, you can begin to assign weight to each project on the list, which is how you will derive what gets done in which order.
2. Identify Urgent Projects Versus Important Projects
The Franklin Covey time management system teaches you to decide whether a task is urgent and important, urgent but not important, important but not urgent, or neither. This is a good method to use when assigning priority to ITSM projects, too. An urgent task is one that needs to be done quickly. An important task is one that will deliver serious consequences if undone. Urgent and important tasks take highest priority, followed by those that are urgent but unimportant, then important but not urgent, and finally those that are neither urgent nor particularly important.
3. Identify the Projects That Stand to Provide the Most Value to the Organization and Stakeholders
Projects that can offer value to the organization should take higher priority. For example, if you expect a new consumer app to increase your customer base tenfold, that project should take precedence over a project that could streamline workflow, but not necessarily provide a high ROI.
4. Use the Amount of Effort Involved in Projects as a Tiebreaker
When two or more projects are equally urgent and important, and stand to provide the organization with relatively the same amount of value, a good tiebreaker is how much effort it will take to complete the project. Put projects that can be done quickly with little effort first, and then those don’t have to sit waiting while other more time-consuming projects get done.
5. Be Flexible When Working on Projects
Occasionally, you delve into an ITSM project and hit a snag. Maybe funding is difficult, or key stakeholders aren’t available to give their approval on some changes. Sometimes more tools are needed to complete a project, or other unforeseen circumstances arise. Know when it’s time to shelve a project for later or perhaps scrap it entirely. Halting one project and beginning another keeps IT productive until they can clear the way to complete a shelved project.
6. Don’t Be Too Quick to Jump on the Latest, Greatest Thing
A common occurrence is managers and executives who hear or read about a new technology that they just have to have. Though the new technology might be attractive, these things often come with big, fat question marks because they are untested and unproven. Projects like these should never be given priority over more urgent and important projects. Don’t be afraid to explain the pros and cons of any new technology, explaining the risks involved and the lack of a guarantee regarding value to the company.
About Laura Miller
Laura Miller is the Senior Director of Sales Operations, ITSM at SolarWinds. She works one-on-one with customers ranging from SMB to Fortune 500, providing them with a modern way to look at service management. Laura's ITIL experience and ITIL v3 Foundations certification provides her with a unique understanding of the service management industry. Her guilty pleasures are anything chocolate, ice coffee, and reality TV.
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