By Matt Hummel & Lissa Richards
As states begin to phase out social distancing measures and employees transition from their virtual home offices back into the physical workplace – there’s likely to be a number of changes to adapt to. One harsh reality for many marketing teams is that there simply may be more work left to do in the fiscal year than we have time to do it. A common theme we’ve heard in talking to our digital marketing colleagues is that many projects were put on hold when businesses were forced into a remote working environment. Value propositions may have changed, and it may be necessary to move high-projected ROI projects to the forefront. With a whole year’s worth of goals to complete in 6-8 months, some business leaders may find it challenging to know where to start. We’re here to help get you back on track.
Applying a proven Prioritization Model we’ve used for year’s
At Paragon, our team has been delivering actionable insights through strategies such as journey mapping for many years. What we found early on with these deliverables is that sometimes, clients were overwhelmed with the possibilities for customer experience improvements and simply didn’t know where to start with implementing them. That’s why we developed an exercise based on a decision-analysis technique (that we morphed into a prioritization model) – helping to provide our clients with an objective ranking of action items. It’s a workshop-based technique we’ve used numerous times. And it’s one that we’re evolving for clients as they prepare to prioritize a backlog of projects for the remainder of 2020.
What makes these workshops successful is that they’re impartial. Having an outside facilitator like Paragon takes out some of the inherent biases project owners may have toward their own goals. It also builds buy-in to the overall plan because stakeholders can see why and how projects are prioritized based on a set of agreed upon metrics.
7 Steps to Develop a Ranked-Order Roadmap
Prioritizing and roadmapping can be done on a variety of scales – ranging from rapid to more rigorous methodologies. We recommend that organizations complete this workshop to the degree that makes them feel confident in their ranking.
Below are 7 steps to follow to build a prioritized and actionable roadmap:
- Determine the key stakeholders and invite them to take part in the workshop. We suggest that you include every area of the business who has a part in achieving the yearly department goals – from marketing, to development, to account leads, etc. Having the right people at the table will ensure transparency, and ultimately lead to better alignment and buy-in across the department.
- List out all of the criteria that are used to measure the value of each project. Determine the outcome factors that will deem your project a success – such as attracting new customers, customer retention, growing wallet share, etc. These should tie back to the organization’s overall marketing plan as well as the company mission and vision.
- Weight the criteria outlined in Step 2. Assign a value on a scale of 1-10 for each of the criteria listed in Step 2 – with 10 being the highest value given (as in, the most valuable).
- List all of the projects that are currently on the “to do list”. Separate and clarify each project that makes the list. Go around the room and ensure that all stakeholders have the chance to participate in building the backlog list.
- Then, rank each project on the list along each of the criteria listed in Step 2. This will give you a numeric score for each project based on the criteria that was most important to the group.
- Build your priority list based on the numeric score derived in Step 5. Remember that it’s OK to gut-check your list. If there’s an project that showed up #3 on the list that everyone agrees is the top priority, use your judgement.
- Factor in the level of effort for each item on your ranked list. For example, if the #1 item on your list will use up all of your resources instead of spreading resources out over, say, items #2-6, then it may be best to re-examine as a team. Look for high-value, low effort items – but still try to stick to your rankings as much as possible.
It seems simple, but it’s super effective. Some organizations may even have an extra step, where they also rigorously examine the cost and/or projected ROI involved for each project and assign a value to that as part of a second set of values. In these types of workshops, involving the financial folks for those discussions would be essential.
Did you find this helpful? We’re happy to chat further and set up a prioritization workshop for your department.