Creating A Work Intake/Prioritization Framework

by Shauna Richter

In the article, "How might we respond to the need to deliver higher volume while sustaining productivity and happiness?" I highlighted the value in decentralizing the work prioritization process so that teams can independently assess new work against inflight work and overall priorities. The first and perhaps the most important rule is that there is only ever one “number one” priority. Adopting this principal forces a decision rather than accepting a tie. The alternative, executing multiple “top priority” initiatives, risks negative impacts on productivity and team happiness.

Here are other categories to consider when developing your own scorecard. If you would like help with developing a prioritization process, please reach out to me.

1. Urgency: The level of urgency or time sensitivity associated with the work. High value tasks with impending deadlines or immediate impact may need to be prioritized higher.

2. Importance: The significance or impact of the work on achieving
organizational goals or meeting critical objectives. Tasks that align with strategic
initiatives or have a significant impact may be given higher priority.

3. Resources Required: The availability and allocation of resources, such as
human capital, budget, or specialized skills needed to complete the work.
Projects that require scarce resources may be prioritized to ensure efficient
utilization or based on the availability of a specialized skillset.

4. Dependencies: The interdependencies between tasks or projects. If a
particular task is dependent on the completion of another task, it may need to
be prioritized accordingly to avoid delays or bottlenecks.

5. Customer or Stakeholder Impact: The potential impact on customers, stakeholders, or
end-users. Work that directly affects customer satisfaction, revenue
generation, or compliance may be given higher priority.

6. Risks and Consequences: The potential risks, consequences, or negative
impacts associated with delaying or not addressing the work. Tasks with higher
risks or severe consequences may require immediate attention.

7. Capacity and Workload: The current workload and capacity of the team or
individuals responsible for the work. Prioritization should consider the
available bandwidth and ensure an equitable distribution of work to avoid
burnout or overload.

8. Cost-Benefit Analysis: Evaluating the costs (resources, time, effort) versus
the expected benefits or return on investment of the work. Projects with higher
potential benefits or ROI may be prioritized higher.