Solving Business Challenges with Project Prioritization

2021.03.15 06:49 PM By Joshua Taddeo, Principal Consultant

Prioritization is the basis of the successful implementation of any project. It is an important part of any organization that carries out a project for long-term and short-term business solutions. The goal is to simply create a system that contributes to improve results and solve business challenges by implementing the fundamentals of project prioritization. To achieve this, a good process of prioritizing projects needs to be in place, allowing strategic decision-making and resource allocation to achieve more successful results. This is where the entire success of a portfolio starts, and it is the key to building a strong and balanced project portfolio.

What is Project Prioritization?

Many organizations believe that project prioritization is the process of budgeting and defining business objectives. However, prioritizing projects goes beyond that. Prioritizing projects is so much more than a budgeted process that many organizations do not even consider during the planning process. In simple terms, prioritization means working on the projects that matter the most so that you can utilize your resources efficiently by creating added value; hence, working on projects that add value.

Signs You Need to Improve Project Prioritization

Prioritizing projects is considered as the decision-making aspect that leads to the actual implementation of a project. It is the process that helps to effectively carry out the processes that influence your marketing goals. Let’s take a look at the signs where project prioritization is essential:

Misallocating Resources

Misallocation of resources can lead to budget overrun, lack of manpower, less productivity, and missed opportunities. If you let every department choose its own projects, you will have to decide how the budget is going to be allocated for them. This will eventually lead to one of the most common business problems: allocation of the budget while having fewer resources and too many projects. A good process of prioritizing projects allows you to properly manage your portfolio. By creating a list of prioritized projects, you can allocate the resources more effectively for implementation.

project management

Poor Company Performance

Measuring returns is not as easy as it sounds at first, and this is one of the factors that make good prioritization difficult. In addition, business value is not just about money; it can come in any form and often means different things to different people. This is, of course, a problem for the work that has to be done, not only in financial terms but also in terms of the quality of the results and efficiency. The best organizations achieve success rates that are massively better than that of others because they focus on active portfolio management - something that is absolutely crucial. So if your error rate is higher than expected, perhaps it is time to review the priorities of the project.

Poor Priority Management

A company can easily fall into different pitfalls from over-prioritizing, under-prioritizing, or focusing too much on one project. Poor prioritization leads to a lack of focus on the organization’s long-term goals and results in poor performance overall.

Benefits of Project Prioritization

Sometimes the congestion of projects is so great that the manager struggles to handle too many projects at the same time. Prioritizing projects can help you identify which projects you should work on first while keeping the above limitations in mind. It also helps you to prioritize upcoming tasks and create successful business solutions. Even if you are not a trained project manager but you know how to prioritize your project portfolio, your company can experience enormous benefits. Read on to learn what they are.

Improved Business Agility

Focusing on how projects support and improve a potentially changing business strategy provides an important perspective for prioritization. These important projects bring value to the company in terms of the impact it will feel today and in the years to come. If you are unable to recognize and respond to change in the appropriate way (one that ensures that the organization can get broad executive support), your organization will miss out on meeting its business goals. The environment is constantly changing, and many organizations do not even come to the realization that the processes they’re currently using are collapsing. Investing in improving the prioritization process for projects seems to be a key element of a company’s strategy to evolve over time. Companies have to quarterly assess what worked last year, what will work next year, and what will never work.

Set Clear Expectations

Project prioritization also gives your team the opportunity to make plans for the work to be done and at the same time set clear expectations for customers and organizations. Once you know where the priorities lie in the tasks and organization of a project, it will be much easier to plan for the day and for the big projects. Once you have a good idea about what works in your business and how important it is, it’s time to figure out how to prioritize it.

Better Decision Making

Decisions are not only made by management but also by each member of the project team. All of these decisions contribute to the success or failure of the project. An efficient process of prioritizing the project will provide clarity and enable the team to make better decisions by understanding the goals and drivers of the project. When listing project stocks, it is important that each project has an approved scope, as the scope of the project influences the decisions for prioritization. The more a project’s scope contributes to identifying missing elements and foundations of a project, the more precise the decision to prioritize a project will be.

Strategy Alignment

project management tools

Projects aligned with a business strategy have a 57% greater chance of succeeding. Therefore, if you focus on projects that are more in line with your company’s goals, you will notice a significant jump in returns. When project management efforts are in line with a strategy, the company has a higher chance of carrying out its projects successfully. Good prioritization ensures that projects are well-coordinated to generate higher success rates. If managers develop a better understanding of the strategic goals that an organization defines, they can bring their initiatives more in line with those goals. This is the key to finding ways to improve strategic driver performance, which ultimately leads to calls for higher-quality projects. By closely aligning projects with specific strategic and operational objectives, you can maintain executive sponsorship, which can derail a project.  Prioritization is a quick win for you and the organization that carries out the projects. If you work well, proper project prioritization will allow you to strategically align your resource allocation decisions to deliver more successful projects. When resources are depleted and used up with time, they become less efficient.

Strategies for Prioritizing Projects

Organizations can deliver 40% more value when they invest in strategic priorities. Scientists have studied the prioritization of projects over the last decade and have concluded that the prioritization of projects is a difficult problem. There are two main reasons why projects should be given priority: lack of understanding of the problem and lack of a clear and consistent approach. Let’s consider the main areas of developing a strategy:

Project Methodology

Priority setting should be one of the main tasks of a project manager. You should realize that there will always be uncertainties in this area. In order to prioritize a project effectively, you need to recognize the urgency and importance of various tasks and classify them accordingly. This is why prioritizing projects is not just about where resources are allocated but also about when work begins. You need to focus on project methodology. A strong project prioritization process means that a company has a clear understanding of its projects and what value is expected of them as they are handed over and designated to the delivery team. Ensuring that you put in the time to follow this process will make sure that your team has all the information they require to prioritize their tasks and get started on the most important projects first. IT teams are better positioned to prioritize projects correctly if they keep an eye on the strategic planning of the company.

project leader discussing projects

Evaluation Criteria

The process of prioritizing a project begins by bringing together the main stakeholders to develop a clear vision of what your project’s goals and drivers will be. These goals are then used to evaluate and prioritize your projects. By understanding the goal and drivers behind a project, the project team can make better decisions. Once you know the evaluation criteria, you can start evaluating the project of your existing portfolio. The main issue here is that all of the different stakeholders will have their own idea of how important and valuable each criterion is, and if these interests are not reconciled, the entire selection process for a project is undermined. Not all criteria and goals are equally important and need to be weighed, but if one does not take the time to reach a consensus on how to measure the value of an individual project, then any decision taken on the basis of these criteria should be reevaluated.


A structured prioritization process for projects will ensure that only well-coordinated projects are approved and that outdated projects are caught early. Transparent and value-oriented prioritization means that the project team understands why the project is important. You should be confident about your business portfolio and realize what would happen if you cancel a project.  By allowing your team to commit to completing projects more comprehensively, you can create a trustworthy environment, obliging employees to build confidence within the portfolio.

Project Management Tools

When the prioritization process is successfully completed, the team can work with project portfolio management to understand the time and resources required and how they impact other projects in the organization.

Project Management Systems

Successful project management systems include prioritizing projects and aligning them with a business strategy so that only projects that offer added value are implemented. It is particularly important that the criteria for project prioritization are developed locally, as they should reflect the local needs of the team as well as the goals and objectives of each individual project. The use of an aggregated mechanism, such as a project management system, can bring harmony to project ideation and prioritization, which are key components of a good project planning process in an enterprise.

Priority Matrix

working on projects

A priority matrix is a powerful time and project management tool that can help you focus on the essentials and meet operational challenges by keeping critical projects on track. It will help you find the true priorities for everyone on your team at all times. A prioritized list of projects will also allow you to use resources more effectively for implementation. This is important because you often compete for the same scarce financial and human resources. The marketing project prioritization matrix helps you focus on those projects that you know will deliver the most benefits to the largest number to the audience you’re targeting.

Project Management Solutions

At Universal Creative Solutions, our operations consulting services can provide direction and a stronger market position for your company. We provide day-to-day support on specific projects and on the implementation of outlined plans. Contact us today for a free consultation session.