How is prioritising your projects for 2024 going?
How do you prioritise projects in a manufacturing business? This is a big question and in this blog you can ready about the tools and methods used by experts, including ourselves, for helping to determine which projects will have the greatest impact on a business if they are prioritised. Project management is super important, everyone is aware of that these days, it’s the prioritisation that’s not always openly discussed.
In today’s dynamic landscape of manufacturing, staying competitive requires manufacturers to juggle multiple projects simultaneously. With that comes a significant amount and variety of tasks and milestones that are all vying for your attention. When that juggle starts to feel like it’s batons on fire or too many balls in the air (choose your favourite analogy there!) then having the ability to prioritise projects effectively becomes paramount. There’s lots of tools and techniques that can be used to help streamline projects that ensures alignment with your business needs.
Project management is a key skill, there’s lots of processes that can be followed, principles to adopt and so forth. Here at Bennett Engineering both Seleena and Craig are Prince2 qualified, which provides an in-depth way of managing those projects. What it doesn’t gift is the ability to select the ones that are going to deliver you results like staying competitive, improving processes, safety for your team, saving costs, increasing throughput or providing sustained growth to the business?
Here’s some considerations that should always guide the way you priortise your projects:
- Project feasibility
- Potential risks of not completing the project (and completing it!)
- Cost-benefit analysis
- Relative need to the organisation
- Business value
- Project length
- Resources needed
- Strategic alignment
Tools to use
There’s a multitude of tools available to help with both project management and prioritisation. Here’s some that our team have come across and use to help with putting the right priority status in place for projects.
SWOT Analysis when conducted comprehensively to really get the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats identified can help understand what the current capabilities are to leverage the current or future opportunities that exist. Having that understanding of what is and what is not possible using the internal strengths and weaknesses can also aid with decision making on when to bring outsourced resources in to help with projects.
Cost Benefit Analysis is a great tool to use for projects as you can really start to quantify the potential return on investment. That way you can start to allocate your resources and select the activities /that are going to drive the business forward.
The Pareto Principle, known as the 80/20 rule, highlights that 80% of results come from 20% of efforts. If you apply a Pareto analysis to your projects, it will become clear on which are your critical projects to yield the most significant impact.
Risk Assessments can direct you project priorities quite easily; if there is unsafe equipment or a process which has high risk then putting the emphasis on making everything safer is not just good for compliance but also to make your people more efficient knowing they can work safely.
Eisenhower Matrix is a framework that really helps distinguish between urgent and important tasks. It involves categorising tasks into four quadrants: urgent and important, important but not urgent, urgent but not important, neither urgent nor important. It quickly becomes clear what to focus on when you fill in this matrix!
Rocks, Pebbles, Sand is another framework for prioritising projects based on their significance. Rocks are the most important tasks, pebbles are less critical, and sand represents the least important tasks. This one has been very visually represented over the years which a jar and rocks, pebbles and sand which you can read about here.
Where does Bennett Engineering come in?
Everything undertaken here in our office is a project; over the last 25 years hundreds of projects have been completed on time and in full. Our questions always start with ‘why’ when discussing a new project with a client. Sometimes those conversations are more important as the client has multiple projects on the go so understanding where to start is critical to use our time and resources (from both organisations) effectively. Our team can provide you with the support in making sure the priority and focus is the right area with some questioning from a commercially driven, results oriented perspective. It’s the classic case of a fresh pair of eyes and a listening pair of ears.
Have a browse of the projects undertaken by Bennett Engineering Design Solutions here Client Spotlights – Bennett Engineering (beneng.co.uk)