Get your priorities right to manage change

Get faster results with the appropriate approach

Get your priorities right to manage change

When your priorities are in the right order.

Having too many ideas is great. It’s fantastic even. Sorting them out as priorities is a great benefit to your project.

However when managing change, it comes to deciding what should be done first, you often end up in endless discussions trying to decide whose items should be prioritised.

There are different ways to make sound decision to  get moving.

Rule nr 1.

Do something. Stop discussing and get started. It’s much better to have something in hand than to be discussing without goal. Change only happens when you do something.

2. Define a prioritisation approach that works for you and your team(s).

Here are a couple of options you can experiment with.

A. Determine a scale of importance (let’s say from 1 to 5) and agree between you that the most important should be done first, then move to the next level etc… until you get through the whole lot of items you have listed.

There is a problem with this approach though. What is more important? What you classified as 1 or what you gave a 5 to?

You could also add a colour to each level on your scale. But here again, everyone on the team needs to understand that RED is the most important and that GREEN can be left for last. Or was it the opposite? You see where that could lead to confusion if all are not aligned with the approach.

It’s not an ideal way of prioritising, but if all agree, and understand the scale, it can work.

B. Scale the importance by using words

That could work, if you find the right words to use and if everyone (once again) has the exact same understanding of the level given to each word used on your scale.

Let’s say that VITAL is ultra-important and has to be done first.

Where would CRITICAL be on your scale? Is it more or less important than VITAL?

Here again, it’s not ideal. But I have seen it work after some training within the teams and with an illustration of that scale pinned on a board for all to refer to.

Priorities have to be clear. But there is more!

There is another way of prioritising which seems to work for a lot of teams. And it has an added advantage up its sleeve.

C. Let me introduce you to MoSCoW

Not the city but an acronym standing for MUST, SHOULD, COULD and WILL NOT.

They’ve added the “o”s so people would remember the acronym easily. MSCW doesn’t sound right now, does it?

Let’s be clear, and all agree, that MUSTs are the most important elements of a project and they need to be done first. They are critical to the success of the project. Without them, the project will fail. In fact, there is no point in starting the project without doing those items.

SHOULDs are important too and “should” be done as soon as possible.

COULDs are bonuses. If we do them, that’s fantastic but we could live without them if we ran out of time or resources.

The WILL NOTs are interesting. These are the exclusions of our project. The things we accept we will NOT DO. They might be done at a later date. Either if we find spare time, or as a separate project.

It is important to note them on your list. They could indeed be extremely valuable to the organisation. Now is just not the right time to spend time and resources on them.

I did mention that this approach has a bonus advantage.

I explain that in detail in Step 5 of my new course “From CHAOS to Change“.

You can join our Beta Group and be one of the first to access the program.

We talk more about this in our Leadership Destiny group where leaders share their experiences in view to constantly improve and grow as a result.

See you there.

John Higham

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