The beginning of the New Year is the opportune time to prioritize the list of projects that have accumulated over the last year and develop a strategy for your enterprise applications. One small problem, you are busier than ever and funding is still limited. Nevertheless, it is good to be prepared as you will undoubtedly be asked for your plan when requesting funding.
Developing a strategy does not have to be a major event requiring an off-site retreat, consultants, breakout sessions and flip charts. The following is a simple four step process that can be conducted in a two hour sessions. The result will be an effective, prioritized plan for your enterprise application projects. You may even surprise yourself and find that there are a number of initiatives that you can move forward without additional resources.
Step 1- Make a list of all your projects, big and small. By developing a comprehensive list, you feel more organized (but perhaps temporarily overwhelmed).
Step 2 – Categorize the projects in a spreadsheet using the following criteria:
- Size (big or small)
- Function (business process or technology)
- Type (new project or part of existing operations)
- Funding Required (yes or no)
- Level of Effort (high, medium or low)
- Resources (requires additional resources or can be absorbed by existing staff)
- Organizational Impact (high, medium or low)
Step 3 – Determine which projects are depended on the following factors:
- Other projects
- Business Decisions
Highlight projects without dependencies and rate the team’s ability to influence the dependencies.
Step 4 – Based on the categories and dependencies, prioritize the projects according to the following:
Low Hanging Fruit – Small projects with few or no dependencies that have an immediate impact and can be achieved with no additional resources. Examples: implementing functionality requested by end users or performance tuning of long running processes or reports.
Intermediate Projects – Small to medium size projects that make a measurable impact with dependencies that can be influence by team. Examples: Rolling out additional self-service functionality or gathering business requirements in preparation of a larger system upgrade.
Long Term Initiatives – Medium to large size projects that have a significant impact, but have significant dependencies outside the influence of the projects team. Examples: business process transformation, version upgrades or new module implementations.