3 steps to streamline your projects

The summer season is now over and the daily routine has returned to normal. In spite of a somewhat different pace of work, where a hybrid approach (face-to-face/remote) has become the norm, the workload has remained the same. Even worse, in many cases it has grown.

And with it, the number of projects to be carried out has also increased. It is as if it were absolutely necessary to make up for time that companies consider to have been lost.

But let's take a step back.

Because let's face it, in the midst of all this, some projects have become less relevant. Furthermore, needs have changed, resources have shifted and budgets have, in most cases, decreased. And, of course, human availability has also changed.

Now is really the time to look at all this again, don't you think?

The best way to do this is to embark on a streamlining phase.

Streamlining means identifying the best projects at a given time according to the circumstances, the status of the project and the company's resources. This will then allow you to focus on these projects and postpone, amend or eliminate the others.

Here are the 3 steps in my personal approach to successfully streamlining your projects in the best possible way.

1. List the selection criteria

The purpose of this step is to identify criteria relevant to your circumstances. These will be the criteria we will then use to assess the projects. To be effective, the selected criteria must follow certain rules:

Be measurable.

Be as objective as possible.

Be as unaffected as possible by the emotions and feelings of the evaluators.

Be in line with the company's constraints.

Be co-developed with all stakeholders and decision-makers.

- Be validated, shared and accepted by all.

And finally, the most important rule:

the criteria should be the same for all projects and should not be changed throughout the project streamlining phase.

The criteria can be either 'YES / NO' (e.g.: Project bound to a legal requirement?) or free-form (Current budget vs Planned budget).

Bear in mind, however, that the relevance of project comparisons will depend on how easy it is to compare the standards between projects. So keep it as simple as possible and avoid too many free-form criteria or criteria with scales ranging from 1 to 100, for example.

Furthermore, to be as effective as possible, do not increase the number of criteria and limit yourself to a maximum of 7 criteria.

Finally, if some criteria are more important than others, give them a greater weighting. This may include, for example, criteria related to regulatory requirements.

2. List the projects and assess the criteria for each one

This stage may seem fairly easy, but it is often the most time-consuming, as a rigorous and objective assessment must be carried out for each project.

Anyone assessing a project must have full knowledge of it. In order to limit the risks associated with an assessment that is too favourable (or too unfavourable) for a project (often unconscious), it is necessary for the assessment to be carried out by another person, who must have all the necessary information to make an informed and objective assessment.

If some criteria are related to the resources available and/or needed for the project, these criteria should be assessed in relation to the overall resources available in the company (regardless of their actual availability, which will be assessed during the arbitration phase).

3. Prioritise and arbitrate projects and inform

Prioritising projects involves sorting projects in order to go through them in descending order of priority. This makes it possible to focus on the projects with the highest priority in terms of resources and planning.

Prioritising projects should be based solely on YES/NO criteria and in descending order of importance.
For example based on a criterion relating to the link between the project and a legal requirement. If a project is assigned a YES status for this criterion, it will have a higher priority than a project with a NO status. If both projects are given a YES rating, the lesser-weighted YES/NO criteria will be examined in order to decide between them.

Once the projects have been prioritised, arbitration will involve going through these projects in descending order of priority and looking at all the criteria for each one. A project will be selected if it:

- Is essential (e.g. legally).


if it is a priority and the necessary resources are available in the company (depending on what has already been used by projects of a higher priority).

If resources are insufficient, it is possible to use planning to wait for resources to become available or to get a budget to 'purchase' resources.
If this is not possible (bear in mind that this is not an essential project), then this project must be stopped, either temporarily or completely until more resources are found.
The scope of the project can also be reviewed to limit the resources required.

Once arbitration has been finalised, it is ESSENTIAL to communicate and explain the choices made so that they are understood and accepted by all those involved in the respective projects.

Finally, don't forget that circumstances change and that this work should be done on a regular basis (even before a project is actually launched) and that some 'old' projects that might drag on without real results should be streamlined.

This is a healthy approach and one that will encourage stakeholder involvement and commitment to strategic and priority projects.

The icing on the cake: streamlining your projects will save you at least 20% of your project budget.

To learn more about these savings and to review the process, feel free to watch the replay of the webinar on this topic in our blog or directly at: https://youtu.be/t8TueZm6iJs.

With Ask'n Get by ARANSI, "the managers' everyday companion", we support the development of managerial skills through experience and bring together the 3 pillars of knowledge (theory), expertise (practical advice) and interpersonal skills (contextualised implementation) in one place.

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