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Better Business: Prioritising between competing projects

Setting up projects which are more than “business as usual” is a major challenge in advice businesses. Indeed, all firms find this difficult, regardless of size or success.

There are never spare resources (usually skilled people) waiting for project work as they will be fully engaged in existing tasks.

It is necessary to prioritise because the demands on resource inevitably exceed supply so something must give.

To prioritise between competing projects, use the following criteria:

  • Cost of project
  • Time profile of expenditure – is there a large sum required initially or are the costs smoothed over time?
  • Benefits – revenue or savings
  • Time profile of benefits –when do the financial benefits actually arise?
  • Resources – time and people and when they will be needed
  • Ease of implementation
  • Regulatory imperative – which might over ride everything else
  • Support for development and direction of the business

Score each project against these criteria from one (low) to five (high) and sum to enable comparison. 

Do not use this to make the final decision but it will help because it gives a clear framework for discussion.

It also means decision takers are using the same criteria and that nothing major is missed.

David Shelton is the author of “The Business of Advice” book and website


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