4 Handy Tips on How to Prioritise Projects
Managing multiple projects at the same time is not an easy task, especially if all of them seem equally urgent. So what can you do when every project is a priority and budgets are tight? How do you prioritise projects? How do you decide which product to deliver before the others? Or should you continue working on all of them at the same time?

Juggling Multiple Projects

To help you streamline your project activity and make the most of your budget, we have collected 4 handy tips on how to prioritise projects below.

1) Think about budget allocation

Budget allocation is an important financial aspect you need to consider. Risk and margin for error are two things to think about when allocating budget to a project. If a project has a high probability of running past its budget, you may need to take a decision whether to take the project or drop it altogether.

Another aspect that may affect your decision is whether the funding comes from the organisation itself or will be funded externally. When a project is externally funded, the responsibilities and legal ramifications are high too.

Another budgetary aspect that can help you prioritise your projects is whether the funds for one project will depend on the delivery or successful execution of some other projects.

2) Analyse costs and benefit

The end goal of every business is, of course, to deliver profits. When you’re working on multiple projects at the same time, a cost / benefit analysis should help you prioritise them and maximise resource allocation. Bright Hub PM has a more detailed guide on what exactly this is and how you can get started.

You can choose projects based on whether they deliver highest or the quickest return on investment. Some projects may deliver high returns, but the returns may take time to manifest. Similarly, there could be projects that may deliver reasonable or average returns, but you see the returns quickly.

Sometimes, people also consider the economic conditions when making a decision. When economic conditions are favourable, project managers give priority to projects that produce maximum revenues. When conditions are harsh, they may choose projects based on cost.

3) Review your resources

Do you have enough resources to work on all projects at the same time? Will the project require technical expertise? Think about whether you’ll have to train your team, hire a fresh one, or outsource it altogether, then analyse each option on a cost / benefit scale. The ResourceGuru Blog has some useful tips on how top project managers allocate their resources, which might help you with this.

Outsourcing may help you save some money, but will it have other costs, such as a compromise on quality? If you have to hire externally, how does that compare in terms of cost and quality with training your own team?

The answers to these questions should help you prioritise your projects. If a project requires a lot of technical expertise, you may want to focus on ones that don’t first. And in the meantime, you could plan for the project that requires technical expertise by way of training or recruitment.

Recruitment

4) Consider your goals

The overall goals of the organisation will help you choose and prioritise the right projects. If you choose a project only based on the return on investment without giving due consideration to the fact that the project doesn’t align with your company’s vision and long term goals, it might be a rather big mistake.

What is the goal of the company? Does the project you want to prioritise align with its long term goals and strategy? If you have five projects, of which two align with the long term goals, and three with the short term ones (such as cash flow), you may want to prioritise based on where you are headed.

For example, let’s say your organisation is preparing to apply for a certification that will help you in getting more projects in the future – in this case, you would give priority to this initiative.

If you need some more tips on managing and prioritising your projects, click here to see how Activia's Project Management courses could help you.

Do you have any other tips on how to prioritise projects effectively? Let us know in the comments below.