How to prioritize IT projects

First of all, there is no perfect way to prioritize the work you have your IT organization focus on.

If we were to conduct an IT assessment and 20 IT managers all came up with exactly the same findings, , , i.e., the business needs and issues and the capability and capacity of our IT organization, , , and then we ask them to prioritize the work, , , guess what!

There would be 20 different sets of priorities.

Prioritizing work is a bit more art than science.

That’s actually perfectly OK, , , every one of the 20 managers could have an appropriate strategy for the company. We just all see things a bit differently. The key is to develop a strategy, present it to management and gain their approval, , , do this and you are in sync with the business.

A prioritizing approach
I use a simple approach to prioritize the work I determine is needed for us to focus on. Let me repeat something before I give them to you, , , every situation is different so this list is a general guideline I use. There are always exceptions and variables you must consider, , , your final set of priorities will be somewhat subjective, not totally objective.

I use the following as a general guideline to follow when I prioritize projects.

•  High risk with stability implications at the very top  (One exception: The cost is too much)
•  High risk, low cost
•  Client service “pops” with low effort and low cost
•  Big opportunity with low cost and low effort
•  Other high risk issues
•  Other opportunities
•  Issues that need to be addressed

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