If everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. You’ve likely heard this at some point in your career. It typically comes from someone who is fed up with too many things being urgent or important. In some cases, I have been that person and it’s very possible you have been that person as well. Pulling your hair out, trying to get the decision makers to choose one project instead of all 15.
RICE Scoring Template available here
Welcome back to Episode 2 of Hartley's Handbook, today we're diving into prioritization frameworks minus the fluff. We'll explore how to prioritize within projects, larger projects, and for yourself as a manager so that your work aligns with true value rather than just busyness.
Let me introduce an old friend: The Iron Triangle. This project management model breaks down variables into schedule, scope, and spend—inflexibility in any one means flexibility must be found elsewhere. If time is tight and budgets are fixed? Scope’s got to give.
Consider labeling tasks P0 (critical), P1 (important), or P2 (nice-to-have). As launch nears, reassess these labels ruthlessly; anything non-critical should fall away like autumn leaves until only the essential remains on your Gantt chart or chosen project tool.
I've seen my share of tech chaos over 15 years but trust me—you can't cram eight engineers onto a task expecting eightfold speed any more than using multiple ovens will bake a pizza faster. Prioritizing based on constraints isn’t about adding manpower; it's about strategic focus.
Now let’s shift gears slightly: How do you decide which larger initiatives take precedence?
Here enters R.I.C.E scoring—a system assessing Reach, Impact, Confidence and Effort—to guide us toward informed decisions without relying solely on gut feelings or hierarchal whimsy. You’ll want to quantify each aspect thoughtfully yet remember this framework is not set in stone—it serves best as an analytical starting point rather than an end-all-be-all decree from above.
For personal prioritization: accountability reigns supreme. What urgent-important tasks demand your immediate attention? Delegate what doesn’t need your unique skillset but never lose sight of long-term objectives by chipping away at them regularly—even if they seem less pressing today.
In closing out this episode—prioritizing effectively across all levels requires honesty with oneself about what genuinely drives impact versus what merely fills time slots with activity noise.
Remember: A well-prioritized plan enables clarity over clutter—an ever-crucial balance for leaders aiming higher without burning out their teams...or themselves along the way.
Until next week—keep optimizing!