- IT Project Manager
"Understanding the business value of the project will help you determine what must be done first"
When you are a project manager, everything is urgent.
There are a lot of tasks that you need to take care of before you start seeing some results based on your plan.
Prioritizing can be daunting when yo have a large project to manage and multiple tasks to deal with. Your stakeholders will have their own agenda and tasks that will have their own level of urgency.
As you breakdown your project tasks, ensure to assign a priority for them based on urgency and importance. Urgent tasks will require immediate attention from you and your team.
These urgent tasks must be identified right away to minimize or eliminate the impact they might have on other tasks or the overall project. Important tasks also require your focus and your best priority strategies to help the team tackle those tasks as per their level of importance. Non-urgent or less important tasks also need your attention but you can always work with your project team and assign those tasks to them.
There will be times when you will need to be more flexible with the tasks that you allow to move up in your list. Embracing change is part of every project and that means that you will need to learn to analyze and prioritize tasks with your team fast. Moreover, your chosen methodology should also help you manage those changes that happen with shifting priorities (Agile methodology could help you be more flexible).
You must also realize the value of the project to be able to define urgency and importance of your tasks. Understanding the business value of the project will help you determine what must be done first in accordance with what is most important to the stakeholders and the organization.
Many of your project stakeholders will also have a say on how you define the urgency and importance of your tasks. However, the stakeholders satisfaction is very important for project success, you must also learn to deal with them when you feel they are trying to impose their priorities.
Priorities will come and go but you decide what you tackle first. You must work with your project team to stay committed to the items that you identify as urgent and keep your stakeholders informed by having those difficult conversations about prioritizing tasks.
Learning to say “No” to those stakeholders is critical as you need to focus on the tasks that you identify to be urgent. For that reason, you need to establish an excellent relationship with your stakeholders, understand their expectations, keep them informed and communicate your ideas effectively.
As a project manager you must make it a priority to learn prioritization strategies.