Tag Archives: it productivity

Review of PRIORITY MATRIX – a workflow system that will revolutionize how IT managers work

This is a BOLD CLAIM, I know, , , but I believe wholeheartedly this system is going to create a paradigm shift in how IT managers work. Let me explain below or go view the video I created to learn more:


A paradigm shift is needed
IT managers have three major challenges and now there is software available to attack all three.

The “BIG THREE” challenges are:

  • Prioritizing work
  • Managing projects successfully
  • Communication

These three challenges are the sources of what I have called the Triple Threat To IT Success for many years.

Appfluence, a Palo Alto company, released a new version of their PRIORITY MATRIX software this week that includes specially designed “IT Manager Templates” to help address these three challenges.

Having used the system for a few months I can tell you that it addresses these three major challenges very effectively.

PRIORITY MATRIX is a very powerful workflow system that places an emphasis on improving productivity and accountability. It even eliminates a considerable amount of your email.

I know what you are saying to yourself, “Right Mike, , , eliminate most of my email, , , who are you kidding?”.

It’s the same thing I thought when I first heard this statement. Well, I saw it happen first hand when I used the system in a real project. It eliminated 90% of the email I would have had with the people working on this project and we completed the project much more productively.

It’s just one of the reasons I have been so impressed with the Priority Matrix system and wanted to make IT managers aware. This is going to be a major step in my company mission of, “helping IT managers of the world achieve more success“.

How Priority Matrix works
The PRIORITY MATRIX system provides a simple interface that uses the Eisenhower Principle for Decision Making. This principle has been around since the 1940’s and is actually well known. Many use this method in their work including:

  • Dr. Stephen R. Covey in his highly acclaimed book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  • David Allen’s book titled, Getting Things Done
  • SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats)
  • Evernote even has an Eisenhower template

The Eisenhower Principle uses the “4 quadrant concept” where the two boxes in the top row are “important” and the two boxes in the bottom row are “not important”. The left-hand column of two boxes is “urgent” and the right column of two boxes is “not urgent”.

So you have:
Quadrant 1 – Important and Urgent
Quadrant 2 – Important but Not Urgent
Quadrant 3 – Not Important but Urgent
Quadrant 4 – Not Important and Not Urgent

You can use the 4 quadrant concept any way you wish, not just how General Eisenhower (and later 34th President of the US) used it.

Flexibility and adaptability to what you need is the “name of the game” when it comes to the PRIORITY MATRIX workflow system and how they use this 4 quadrant concept.

The 4 quadrant layout in Priority Matrix’s user interface allows you to organize and categorize tasks, projects, or virtually anything you want.

The possibilities in using the 4 quadrant methodology are virtually limitless.

The real power is behind the simple user interface
PRIORITY MATRIX uses the 4 quadrants as the main part in their approach, but there is a big difference in what I see with their implementation. They have a powerful workflow engine beneath the simple 4 quadrant user interface you see.

This engine automates many workflow things we always had to do manually, and it places an emphasis on prioritizing work and completing the work productively. You would never know this unless you worked with the system.

Here is a sample of P/M’s key features and benefits:

  1. Organize virtually anything you want. The 4 quadrant structure is very flexible; you decide how you want to use it.
  2. Prioritize tasks or items by assigning a due date. When you do, the system automatically tracks this and notifies you with alerts and reports.
  3. Assign tasks to teammates. The system keeps track of this automatically so you and others of your choosing can see what is getting done and when things are coming due.
  4. Collaborate in real time to resolve issues. This aspect improves productivity considerably and will eliminate a major part of your email. I didn’t believe this at first but it definitely does reduce email significantly.
  5. Easily include notes, attached files, screenshots, url links and more in your communications.
  6. The system maintains detailed documentation of all communication and notes on all tasks. This is great for documenting what actually happens for future reference. If you work in an environment where tracking work activity is important then this system is definitely worth looking into.
  7. GANTT charts are created automatically and you can even work from the GANTT chart interface to update projects, change dates, reassign tasks, etc.
  8. The CALENDAR interface works the same way.
  9. Manage dozens of projects and easily see all that’s going on by project, by quadrant, by teammate and more.
  10. Build a project from scratch or use one of the predefined project templates to get up and running quickly.
  11. Tag projects, tasks or items so you can filter views or reports by tag. Very helpful.
  12. The system is a great place for storing reference material and other resources.
  13. The system is cloud based so all your devices have access.
  14. Tremendous scalability and security using Amazon Web Service’s S3 storage capability.
  15. Communication updates are automatic when people are assigned or participating in a task or project. This is a major benefit for IT managers.
  16. Easily monitor employee workload when you define tasks with “effort required” and “start & end dates”.

I discovered PRIORITY MATRIX by accident a few months ago and now that I’m familiar with it I’m wondering, “Where have you been all my life?”

The manual To Do List system I’ve used for 30 years is obsolete with a tool like this so I’ll be using PRIORITY MATRIX from now on.

I was so impressed with the PRIORITY MATRIX system that I wanted to invest time and energy to help the company create IT Manager awareness of their system.

I created 6 IT manager templates and they are available for free to new users from the Appfluence web site. Create projects in these categories in just a few minutes, , , there will be more templates created and available soon.

IT Manager Resources
Employee Performance Planning
IT Project Portfolio Process
IT Project Risk Analysis
IT Project Value Analysis

Go to: https://appfluence.com/it-management-software/ and take advantage of the FREE 30-day TRIAL offer of the PRIORITY MATRIX System for IT Managers.

I encourage you to take a look at the PRIORITY MATRIX system. Believe me, it’s going to revolutionize the way you do things and make you much more productive in achieving more success.

Should you care about employees browsing the Internet?

Technology developments make us more productive than ever before – right?

Well, let’s consider a few things and think about this from a management point of view:

–  Information about virtually anything is much more accessible via the Internet.
–  Ability to communicate with one another is much better via e-mail and cell phones.
–  Every company can afford computer equipment and more productive processes.
–  Work is completed faster and easier with innovative software and equipment.

–  People productivity is reduced by so many distractions.
–  With greater communication accessibility comes more interruption.
–  Many people are not disciplined to avoid non-productive distractions of the Internet.

Great technology can be a double-edged sword, , , advantages that also come with many disadvantages. So, what this means is that it all comes down to how you manage technology in your company.

Do you have an Internet Usage Policy in your company?

Should you have one, , , or do you really want to manage the use of the Internet in your company in that way, , , by telling your people what they can and cannot do with the Internet at work?

This can be a delicate issue.

My sense is that you want people to be focused to do their jobs when at work. How they get the work done, I’m not so sure I really care about  as long as they accomplish our organization’s goals and objectives.

Well, here is the rub. Maybe your team is great in supporting your client but if they are seen playing solitaire or browsing the Internet on their PC much of the time, , , it sends the wrong signal to the client.

Even if the client does this as well, when they see an IT person “goofing off”, it’s a bigger deal to them.

One of the earmarks of a successful IT organization is professional conduct. Playing games and simply browsing the Internet is not professional conduct. No matter how good your IT organization is in supporting your client, , , there are positive things you can do in supporting your business if your people have lots of spare time on their hands.

Lots of spare time would at a minimum suggest you are probably spending too much money in IT staff, , , and that’s a negative.

As a manager, I don’t care that people browse the Internet as long as it is work related and something that benefits their efforts to support our client. The Internet in this regard is a tool to help us succeed.

What I do mind is when people are distracted from our support work and browse the Internet or play games that don’t benefit our company.

This again is a double-edged sword. IT professionals do things in their non-work hours that benefit the company and often use the Internet to help them in these efforts. It is difficult for me to be bothered if they are not 100% productive at work and expect them to do things outside of work to improve their skills and support our client.

What would be great would be if we could create very objective measurements as to whether IT people are successful in doing their jobs like you can for a salesman.

In sales, it is cut and dry. The salesman makes his monthly sales quota and we are happy, , , he doesn’t  and he fails in his job, , , it is that simple.

We don’t care how the salesman spends his time as long as he achieves his quota. In fact, management might even look at such a situation that if a salesman can make his quota and work only 10% of a normal week, , , we would be happy.

The key with sales  is that we can create a specific quota objective and hold the salesman accountable. What makes him more accountable is that he doesn’t get paid unless he sells. He either succeeds or the sales management process and how we pay a salesman weeds out the losers.

It’s more difficult in IT to develop such clear cut objectives, , , but what this says is that we need to develop very objective performance plans that include specific goals and objectives and hold our people accountable.

In reality , you don’t really care how an employee spends the day as long as he is successful. The problem develops if your client perceives members of your team are “goofing off”. This really is an issue to be concerned about.

Coach your employees on the “proper use” of the Internet, phones and other technologies that help their productivity but are quick to take them out of productive work mode.

Remember, client perception is a big deal when you are a support organization, , , no matter if you are the IT Organization or Human Resources.