Managing Priorities

Railroad Switch

As IT personnel, it’s my job to help business-driven projects.  My support tasks generally take priority over my long term IT projects.  There are techniques to manage the priorities of these projects, and get them done.  Here are some ways to do it:

  1. Say When:
    1. Clarify how much time is needed.
    2. Determine if it can be handled now.   If not, make it known to others.
    3. If it can wait, then suggest an agreeable time.
  2. Learn More:
    1. Do quick impact analysis.
    2. Work with the requester for the results and standards required.
    3. Ask for additional learning material.
  3. Ask for help:
    1. Determine how the support requests fits into the bigger picture.
    2. Agree on roles and responsibilities from the people involved.
    3. Focus on required resources.
    4. Understand the task required.
    5. Get a completion date.  If not clear, then suggest times for status updates.

In every step, it helps to listen carefully, be polite, and be sensitive to the needs of others.

Contrary to popular opinions, IT is not entirely a lonesome job.  It gets easier to handle when I have the help of my colleagues.

Business may have unending projects.  It helps tremendously if I can prioritize them, according to the time and resources at my disposal.  Knowing what, when, and who are the keys to success.   The how will be answered eventually.  Asking why is counter-productive.