Ibrahim Dani, PMP, is a program management
consultant at FinXL I T Professional Services in
We developed a project prioritization group that,
together with the project sponsor, identifies projects as either preserving the current business value
(value preservation) or increasing the business value
(value addition). Unless the project is expected to
deliver very high value in both dimensions, the
project is categorized as either a value preservation
(Dimension A) or value addition (Dimension B)
project. This is to prevent projects from attracting
high value unnecessarily by adding scores from both
dimensions. After evaluating the project against
either Dimension A or B, the project is evaluated
against its achievability potential (Dimension C).
Then, the project prioritization group allocates a
score of 0, 1 or 2 against each sub-dimension. This
score is based on information collected by interviewing stakeholders and subject matter experts.
The total score of each dimension is calculated,
but all dimension scores are not added up. That is,
each project has an A or B score and a C score. The
higher value of A or B then sorts the projects, which
are in turn sorted by the value of C. So for example,
a project with a score of A8/C1 has a higher priority
than a project with a score of A5/C8.
This type of weighted scoring provides the central projects group with better understanding of
the criticality, value and achievability of the project. (See the sidebar The Prioritization Framework
for details on weights and scoring.)
If a project attracts a zero score in both A and
B dimensions, it will be rejected regardless of the
score of Dimension C. In other words, projects are
not authorized only because they can be done—
they are authorized if they need to be done.
The Bottom Line
Although most scoring is based on subjective opinion, the subjectivity of the total score is minimized
by the granularity of the dimensions and the multiple scores obtained from different stakeholders.
When sponsors used this prioritization framework
for the first time, many of them were surprised
by the scores of certain projects. And they had to
reluctantly accept the result and its rationale. PM
The Prioritization Framework
This is a general description of the framework. Organizations can tailor
dimensions, weights and scores.
DIMENSION A: VALUE PRESERVATION
Assess the criticality of the project.
n A1 (Weight 5): Maintenance of business operations (i.e., importance)
o Consideration: Is this project a required technical upgrade?
o Score: 0—upgrade not required; 1—upgrade required; 2—upgrade
n A2 (Weight 3): Impact of not starting the project within the next
12 months (i.e., urgency)
o Consideration: Can we afford delaying this project for
o Score: 0—no impact, can wait; 1—medium impact; 2—high impact
DIMENSION B: VALUE CREATION
Assess the expected new value of the project’s outcome.
n B1 (Weight 4): New value to the business
o Consideration: The product or service will provide significant value
for the business.
o Score: 0—limited value; 1—significant value in limited area;
2—significant value added in more areas
n B2 (Weight 2): Leverage potential
o Consideration: The product or service can be leveraged for other
users and departments.
o Score: 0—isolated service; 1—some leverage potential;
2—significant leverage potential
DIMENSION C: ACHIEVEMENT POTENTIAL
Assess different parameters of the project to measure the confidence level
of achieving the target.
n C1 (Weight 1): Clarity of the target
o Consideration: Assess the level of understanding of the expected
outcome of the project.
o Score: 0—requires significant investigation; 1—requires some
investigation; 2—clear understanding
n C2 (Weight 3): Prospects of target achievement
o Considerations: Assess the complexity of the project in terms of
expected duration, required resource levels, interdependencies
with other projects and teams, breadth of functionality coverage
(different departments) and project risk profile.
o Score: 0—very complex; 1—complex; 2—straightforward