Tag Archives: project productivity

Using Priority Matrix in IT – a Case Study

Priority Matrix is a powerful task management and workflow system that gives businesses in all industries significant advantages in productivity and accountability. While it delivers value for all levels of managers and employees, it is especially adaptable for IT organizations.

I discovered Priority Matrix by accident. Actually, people in Appfluence (the company that developed Priority Matrix) discovered and contacted me about the possibility of interviewing me to learn more about IT managers and IT organizations.

Inquiries like this happen fairly often and I don’t think too much of them, but on a rare occasion I stumble upon something special. This was the case with Priority Matrix.

At first, “I didn’t get it!” They gave me a demo and walked me through the system and I was impressed, , , sort of. Then I started using the system on a real project and WOW, it hit me like a ton of bricks.

I suddenly realized that I had actually stumbled upon a system that will change the way you work and help you become significantly more productive as well as improve accountability and communication within your organization.

These are strong words so I think taking a look at a new user will be of benefit.

Background
Strattec is a large global manufacturing company based in Wisconsin. The company makes customized auto parts for many of the automobile manufacturers. Beth Ackley is their Director of Information Services. I first met Beth in 2004 when she attended my 4th IT Manager Institute. Since then she has put many of her managers through the program.

As I’ve gotten to know Beth I have always been struck by the fact that she approaches her IT support business very practically and she has a keen sense for supporting the business and delivering business value. In our discussions it is always apparent she is motivated as the Head of IT to help her company be more successful.

I worked with Appfluence for a few months to better understand the Priority Matrix system and to create some targeted IT manager templates. Then, I created an awareness campaign in late June of 2017 to make IT Manager Institute graduates aware of the power of the system.

One of the first to show an interest was Beth. Her comment to me was, “We were just talking about needing to find something that addresses our task management needs that will also help us attain better accountability and improve productivity.”

After doing her due diligence work and taking advantage of the Priority Matrix free trial period, Beth purchased licenses for her team.

I initially interviewed her after she had gained about 60 days of experience in using Priority Matrix. Then, we talked again after about a year of experience with Priority Matrix.  Here is what I found.

Implementation approach
Beth initially rolled the system out to just her IT managers and a few key people so they could gain insight and experience in using the new tool. This “test group” focused on discovering the best ways to use the system within Strattec and how to bring new users up to speed. Their implementation included internal training along with training from Appfluence plus I spent time with Beth to show her some of the highlights I had discovered in using the system.

At the time I caught up with Beth to explore how her team was using Priority Matrix she had 26 people in her IT organization using the system. Her ultimate goal was to have the entire IT team of about 45 IT employees using Priority Matrix by end of the year.

Her team stays very busy as do most IT organizations these days. In the interview she indicated they had approximately 65 active projects underway in various stages. Many of these projects are now managed and tracked using Priority Matrix.

While Beth’s IT team initiates efforts to standardize certain project types and processes using Priority Matrix, she stated that each person tends to use the system individually or a bit differently than the next person. This is an important aspect of Priority Matrix; it is very flexible so the system adapts to how you want to use it, not forcing you to use it in a predefined way.

One comment she made was that one of her senior software developers became productive with the system in about 10 minutes. My sense with this is that there are two reasons:

  1. The system is very intuitive.
  2. A quick orientation from a more experienced user makes the learning much faster.

Benefits in using Priority Matrix
Beth talked about many early benefits she and her management team are experiencing. Below is a list of key benefits she is getting from Priority Matrix:

  1. Master List – This feature allows you to see all your To Do’s for the week plus you can see across your team and what they need to get done. This makes you aware of what’s going on and puts you in better control. Beth believes this feature is really a strong selling point of the system.
  2. Eliminates confusion – Each customer has a Priority Matrix project which creates a single place to record all to do’s and issues that take place with the customer.
  3. Collaboration – The ability to collaborate in real time to resolve issues, complete tasks, and to discuss things proactively improves productivity and helps you get things done.
  4. Ability to find things easily – All the components dealing with a project, a client or whatever you use Priority Matrix to track can be stored in one place. This makes finding things easier and much more productive than the “folder chaos” we normally go through.
  5. Reduced e-mail clutter significantly – Because tasks and issues are handled interactively and updates are “real time”, significant amount of e-mail churn is eliminated. No more need to send e-mails back and forth to get updates on issues. This has a dual effect in that huge amounts of e-mail are eliminated plus being able to find prior correspondence is quick and easy by searching within the collaboration database. One of Beth’s quotes is, “It also means we don’t have to search through emails to find the tidbit of technical information that someone included in a discussion, but didn’t document in the product spec.”
  6. Deadlines and accountability – The ability to assign responsibility and due dates to tasks allows you to see what’s going on and anticipate things that need to get done. Beth mentioned that one of the great things was to be able to start Monday morning with the ability to all that needs to get done this week.
  7. Heat map – This feature helps you see the workload of your employees so you can make adjustments to balance workload when needed.
  8. Intuitive user interface – One of her programmers picked up the system in 10 minutes. Just a little insight makes using the system quick and easy.

Additional thoughts
Beth and her team are one year into the use of Priority Matrix and they continue to discover additional benefits as they use the system. Their initial experience appears that the system is delivering many tangible benefits and is changing the way they work so her team can become more productive and accountable as they get things done.

Discover more about PRIORITY MATRIX at:  https://appfluence.com/it-management-software/