Every organization needs a “Hierarchy of Purpose”. Without it, it will be difficult to work effectively. This is where prioritization comes into the picture. Prioritizing helps in attaining a high success rate of strategic projects, increases the alignment and focus of the management around strategic goals. Also, it clears the doubts of the operational teams and builds an execution mindset and culture.
Jennifer Bolivar has been working as a Vice President Enterprise Agility, EPMO at Suncoast Credit Union for nearly 10 years. She started with business development and led the indirect lending program. Also, she worked for improving member experience and creating a unified culture – from service to digital assets and many more things. At CULytics annual summit, she shared four key components that are worth knowing:
In late 2017, at Suncoast Credit Union, internal efforts were launched to transform the business and scale agile outside the software development space. For this, the way of working was changed. The most evolving component of the journey was getting deep and digging deep, which was the hardest; but on the priority.
1. Ruthless Prioritization and its Importance:
Resources and time are finite, so it is important to spend time to ensure how things can be beneficial, how they can lead to that desired outcome, what success means for the organization, and the way to reach there. Saying no to things that don’t get you there become very critical in this new way of working.
In this time of the pandemic, it is important to understand the requirement of more visibility, control and flexibility as things might pop up at any time. Flexibility in terms of decision-making and conducting operations is important to serve the best to the clients.
Also, measures should be adopted to eliminate disruption by focusing on creating efficiencies. This will make it easy to run business operations with ease. As a result, changing priorities will become easier, faster deliveries will be possible, giving value to members sooner will be an ease. Overall momentum and business and IT alignment will be increased, and the possibility of taking decisions very differently will be there to help in growing business and member base.
In short- Resources are finite, so it makes sense to expend time and effort on the items that will deliver the MOST value- towards your vision. Stay focused on your benefits.
2. Level Set on Current Environment and the Pitfalls of Traditional Work Management
The time span of task delivery increases not necessarily because of task switching but it could be because of context switching. When tasks are delivered together at the end of the month or a year, it might increase the overall handling time of the task. Also, context switching can result in errors in the tasks and dissatisfaction amid the people as expectations might not meet.
With a better understanding of the requirements, the overall duration of a particular task can be reduced easily. So, ruthlessly prioritizing tasks is a good way of delivering value items to your members in a much shorter time. So, by saying No to traditional methods and with a focused approach and dedication, one can add high value to the system.
In short - Continuous task switching and increased coordination is expensive and increases duration.
3. How do you know you need Change?
- Evaluation. If the pipeline of the work is more than a year long, there is a need to evaluate the plans as people might want to get their work done in a certain amount of time. Evaluation can be done at any stage of operation. So inspecting and adapting is the key to deliver the best.
- Stress. Being an organization, it is the first responsibility to deliver value to the members. But, at the same; it is vital to ensure that the staff is not over-burdened while serving the members.
- Change. Too much change in operations and constant communication of the same is needed to be avoided.
- Quality. Things are required to be done beautifully. Quality of the offerings should be ensured for the premium member experience.
- Problem Solving. There are many solutions to one problem. So, instead of trying out them all, try to define the problem first and accordingly work on the solution.
These are the parameters that can be prioritized for ease of operations. Say No to methods that don’t lead to effective work solutions.
4. Key tips and lesson learned
- Vision. One should have to know about the final destination and the pathway to reach there. Multiple ways might be there but is important to understand the right one to shorten the journey time. This will be the most efficient way of working. And this vision should be led by the top management of the organization. Single-handed leadership with much engagement is all required to achieve success in less time.
- Remove Emotions. This is the hardest part. The focus should be on attaining the desired results in the set timeline.
- Intention. It is a key. One should be very intentional about what steps you are going to take to reach your end goals. There should be a plan to make changes in the organization because they never come lightly. Time must be spent on a daily or weekly basis to work on planning like how can things be communicated to the front-end staff to reduce the task-time and improve work efficiency.
- Comparative Value Model. It might be critical for two reasons. First, it might give way to communicate why not, why we cannot do this. As it might give information about what can affect the business operations. But other components are needed to be taken into account like architectural work, infrastructural work; these are some foundational things. One should have a model that empowers one to prioritize them effectively. Second, it can help in finding out what is needed to be done first. Also, it is useful in terms of time criticality and risk analysis & management. When it is used, the goal might be attained in the shortest amount of time. So, it is advised to have a model to ease the process of prioritization.
- Evidence – Reliable Data. How can one measure success? Having a baseline for data will also help in measuring the big win that brings success. A well-researched data is at the core for being able to identify the problem. Further measures can be easily taken with the data-centric approach. Data can be quantitative and qualitative as it can be easily put with channels that help in identifying where to start the journey of prioritization.
Planning is Guessing –the direction in conducting operations is required, not a 100- 200 page business plan. Keep the focus on the present things and doing what can be done in the future. Interruption is the enemy of production and this is something to look upon for hassle-free business operations and bring out the best. Small is a Great
Destination in itself – you do not need to solve 100% of the problem to work on another. Don’t do it alone- help and assistance from the available resources can be taken to ease the process.
So, setting up priorities while executing tasks is necessary to give complete attention to tasks that are important and urgent. Leaders should signal and be clear about their intent what matters. Prioritizing at the strategic and operational level is often the difference between success and failure. Try to analyse the operational requirements and make priorities accordingly.