Make it a Priority to Prioritize

  • May 03,2018

Business leaders often say “everything’s important.” But in reality, some things are more important than others. With competing demands, it’s hard to determine what matters most and many firms aren’t very good at it, says Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez in a Harvard Business Review article.

“Prioritization at a strategic and operational level is often the difference between success and failure,” he writes. “But many organizations do it badly.” That’s where BigTime can help.

This post aims to help you identify priorities, and, equally important, how to share them with your staffers—so your priorities become your staffers’ priorities. Several BigTime features make both processes a bit easier.

1. Know your deadlines

Priorities are often deadline driven in business. Recognize these deadlines and allocate budgets months or weeks in advance in resource allocation. It’s an effective way to know where to direct time and attention, both in the short term and long term.

business prioritization 1

2. Be specific

Create specific tasks, so expectations are clear to your staffers. “Website updates” is vague. “Redesign homepage” is more specific.

Then, determine start and end dates so staffers can manage their workload, and establish budgets. Without these constraints, staffers will likely leave a task until the last minute without a second thought about timelines or costs.

3. Determine roles and responsibilities

Not only do you need to prioritize projects, but also your staffers. Give some thought to who’s needed and where. Consider talent and team dynamics, because inevitably you’ll have to make some tradeoffs: you can’t have your star software engineer on 25 projects.

Use resource allocation to help you with your decision making process. The “view by staff member” view is ideal for this purpose. Based on the image below, we can see the staffers assigned to various tasks for a project. Plus, we can see how many hours per week they work. Both Ben and Henry work 40 hours (noted in gray next to their names). This information will prevent us from over-allocating hours and help keep them within their capacity.

business prioritization 2

4. Keep staffers informed

If something’s a priority let it be known! A great way to keep staffers informed is sharing reports, which you can do in BigTime. Make a report public so a staffer can gauge her individual performance or get a better grasp of how the project is tracking.

Great outcomes can result when prioritizing is done well. According to Nieto-Rodriguez, “prioritizing increases the success rates of strategic projects, increases the alignment and focus of senior management teams around strategic goals . . . and, most important, builds an execution mindset and culture.” You’ve got little to lose but a lot to gain when it comes to setting priorities and communicating them to your staffers.