Three important aspects of project prioritization

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Faced with the constant threat of rising costs and low margins, executives are doing everything they can to survive. Initiatives that reduce costs, maintain cash flow and eliminate debt are now focal points for companies trying to cope with the current market. In many cases, CEOs are under serious pressure to deliver targeted benefits in a relatively short amount of time.

They are also expected to pay off debt and make difficult dividend policy decisions despite potential cost-cutting headcount reductions that limit support from middle management. In this scenario, effective project prioritization becomes critical.

Executive alignment

The question becomes: How can executives best prioritize improvement initiatives that will neutralize the effects of high costs? First and foremost, there must be unilateral agreement across the C-suite as to which initiatives are financially viable and provide the most immediate value. The executive team must do their homework, validating each business case by comparing project costs versus benefits. During the validation process, they must also monitor cash flows so that financial obligations and operational requirements are met.

Execution

Once each business case is validated, the game plan shifts towards execution. At this stage, having a strong foundation of PMO concepts in place will ultimately drive the initiatives forward. There needs to be governance over each project – having the ability to track performance, accrued benefits and resolve issues as they arise. Organizations must also be agile enough to reprioritize in the event of any unforeseen internal or external circumstances. Processes that offer greater flexibility must be integrated into the day-to-day tasks that are essential to production.

Skills development

As cost pressures increase, executives are relying heavily on their internal teams to get the job done. However, leaner management structures have placed the responsibility of continuous improvement squarely on the shoulders of operations personnel. Having an operational skills development program – one that simultaneously increases proficiency and competency – can plant the seeds of sustainability in the minds of front-line staff. The end result is a solid framework of knowledge that gives employees the ability to accelerate initiatives by managing greater operational responsibilities.

 


 

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