Prioritize and Score Your Projects

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Audience

Project managers, executives and administrators

Description

Many teams have more projects than they have time to perform them. That is why it is essential to have a method for ranking and scoring projects. If you are a Project Insight administrator, executive manager or project manager, then you will benefit from learning how to create your own scorecard and utilize it to prioritize your portfolio of projects.

Benefits

  • Understand the concepts of goals, critical success factors (CSFs) and key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Learn how to set up your organization’s scorecard
  • Understand how to create, update and report on a project’s score

Key Points


Purpose of the Scorecard

One of the biggest challenges a lot of organizations face is that they have too many projects and not enough resources to do all those projects. How do you determine which projects to do first? You need to prioritize them and one way to do that is with a scorecard.

A scorecard is a tool that organizations can use to evaluate and rank projects based on a set of standard criteria.

This is the topic of today’s training session, prioritizing and scoring your projects so the team has metrics to determine which projects to do first.

Often in organizations, different people, departments, teams or executives want different projects completed according to their priorities. Basically, you want to remove that subjectivity and execute projects according to pre-defined quantitative measures instead. This eliminates individual bias and ensures you are performing the projects that support of your organization’s overall strategic plan and goals.

Of course, sometimes, there are projects that you must do because they are ‘housekeeping’ or legislative projects. They may not really move your organization forward with its goals but they have to conducted to keep your organization running. You can account for these types of projects in your scorecard as well.

Simple Project Prioritization

Within Project Insight you can create a very detailed, multi-tiered scorecard to support even the most complex prioritization algorithms, or you can also enter a very simple priority of 1, 2, 3 and so on.

You are going to see the simplest method first. Then you will see a more formal scorecard with different levels or tiers.

What you are seeing now is a portfolio report that was created to show you the simple priority setting option.

There is a column on the report and it is labeled Priority.

Each project in your portfolio has a number assigned to it. Number 1 is the highest priority and number 5 is the lowest priority.

Only the PMO Manager or System Administrators are able to change the priority of your projects.

This ensures consistency, so that only one person is in charge of setting the priority on your projects and every project manager is not setting their project as the number one project.

Using this simple prioritization method is a more subjective way to prioritize projects. If you are the PMO Manager, you will look at the portfolio of projects and assign a number depending on what you think the priority is. Now, you may have some criteria for assigning those numbers, but the software does not control that, you control that.

This project priority column is always available and you can choose to use it or not. You can even hide it, if you don’t use it. To see how to do that, you can attend the Internationalize Your Project Software with Cultural and Interface Labels training session.

Expand the left navigation.

There is also another option in the Administration section, that you can turn on to have the priorities assigned to projects renumbered automatically if you change a priority.

Only a System Administrator can turn this setting on.

Click on Administration to expand it out.

Click on Projects to go to the Project Settings.

There is an option called Project Priority Re-Ordered Automatically.

If you check this on, then you change the priority of a project and all the other projects will be re-numbered accordingly.

Click on it to check it on, if not already.

Click Save.

Collapse the left navigation.

Click on the Project which has Priority #5.

Click the Edit icon.

Change the Priority to 1.

Click Save.

Click the Back icon to return to the report.

That project has now become the #1 project and the #1 project got renumbered to #2 and so on.

Now you know about simple project prioritization.

Create Your Organization’s Goal Based Scorecard

To see a more formal way of prioritizing your projects using a scorecard with evaluation criteria, expand the left navigation.

Click on the arrow next to projects to expand that out.

Click on Scorecards.

Collapse the left navigation.

You can see that there are already some scorecards set up.

Only your system administrator can set up scorecards.

Click on the Standard Scorecard to start.

On each scorecard, you are able to have up to three tiers or levels.

The first tier is called the Goals.

The second tier is called the Critical Success Factors or CSFs.

The third tier is the called Key Performance Indicators or KPIs.

You can have a Goal by itself, or you can have a Goal that is then broken down into additional Critical Success Factors within that Goal. Within each Critical Success Factor, you can break it down even further to Key Performance Indicators.

You can choose to have only one tier in your scorecard. That is set up high level goals. Or you can have a goal and some critical success factors within it, but no key performance indicators. Or you can have all three levels, goals, critical success factors and key performance indicators and you can also have a combination within the same scorecard. You will see an example of that later on.

The Project Insight scorecard is very flexible. To start, you are going to define only Goals.

You can tell if an item on the scorecard is a Goal, Critical Success Factor or Key Performance Indicator by the color coding associated with it.

Goals appear in a darker blue color.

What you have on this scorecard are just three high level goals, which are ‘Alignment to strategy,’ ‘Decrease in length of client implementation times,’ and ‘Increase in sales.’

Then you have the business rules that you will use to score the project against how well it accomplishes that Goal.

For Alignment to strategy, you will enter a zero if the project produces no benefits that align to your strategic goals.

You will enter a score of 5 if it aligns to one or two strategies.

You will score it a 10 if it aligns to more than 2 strategies.

For the Goal, Decrease in length of client implementations, you will score it a 0 if the outcome of the project results in no decrease in client implementation times, a 5 if less than a 30% decrease or a 10 if a greater than 30% decrease.

Finally for sales, you will score it a 0 if doing the project will not result in any increase in your sales, a 3 if there is an increase but it is less than $10,000, a 7 if it is in the range of $10,000 to $50,000 or a 10 if it is greater than $50,000.

Scoring a Project

Now you have set the rules and guidelines for how your project manager should score projects.

To see how that works, expand the left navigation.

Click on Folders.

Click on Projects.

Collapse the left navigation.

Hover on the Add icon and select Project.

Enter a name such as Implement CRM Software.

The rest of the fields on this form are covered in detail in the Build Your First Project training session so they are not covered in this session, however,click on the Copy From Template drop down and select Software Development. This provides you with some pre-defined tasks in your project.

Also, scroll down to the State and click on Active to make it an active project.

When you have an active Scorecard, a Scorecard tab will appear.

Each project manager is responsible for filling out the scorecard for his or her projects.

Click on it.

You see that scorecard that you saw before. In addition, there is now a Score drop down.

Click on that.

A list with a number from 1 to 10 appears.

This is where, you as the project manager, must understand what the deliverables of this project are and what they are intended to do. You may have a business case or need to review the project description to determine that.

Then you are going to rate the project in terms of how it is going to meet that goal.

Use the business rules that you defined to do that.

For example, maybe this project aligns to 1 of your organization’s strategies, select 5 for that goal.

Click on the drop down for the next goal and click on 10, because this project will reduce client implementation times by more than 30%, it receives a score of 10.

For the last goal, sales increase it is anticipated that after this project is implemented it is expected to increase sales by $12,000, score it a 7 for that goal.

To see what priority is going to be assigned to this project based on the scorecard, click the Update Scorecard icon.

Project Insight has calculated automatically that this project has a score of 22 out of a maximum possible 30 points.

That score or priority was calculated by simply adding up the score that you assigned it for the different goals and coming up with the total.

Now, a couple of things to note.

Click in the drop down for one of the Scores.

This drop down list is pre-populated with a number from 0 to 10. You cannot change that.

So the maximum value that can be entered for a Goal is 10 and since there are three goals that gives the maximum score possible of 30.

With this type of scorecard, your projects are all rated on a scale of 1 to 30, with the projects with highest score, receiving the highest priority. This project with a score of 22 might be pretty high up on the priority list.

Since there is a score of 1 to 10 available for each goal, you could define up to 10 different business rules per goal or keep it simpler and just assign 3 or 4 as it is set up in this scorecard.

Viewing the Project Score

As the project manager, you are able to see the score for the project from this form.

Hover on Save and click Save & Display project.

Other stakeholders can view the scorecard information for a project by hovering on Views and clicking on Status.

Click on the Scorecard tab.

This is where you see the scoring data for the project.

You can see what scorecard was used, the standard scorecard.

You can see the date it was last scored and who scored it.

It also lists the maximum score available.

Then you have the actual score for this project.

Now you will see that there are two scores, one called a weighted score and one called a raw score.

With Project Insight you are able to create weighted goals, critical success factors or key performance indicators.

If you do that, then there will be a score that is calculated according to the weights and that is the Score (Weight).

Then you also have the Score (Raw), which is simply the value of all the scores you entered added up.

In this case, because you did not have any weighting in that Standard Scorecard, the weighted score and the raw score are the same.

To see the scorecard and all the details including the individual scoring for each goal, click the View Scorecard icon.

As the project manager on this project, you are able to change the scores right from here.

But others will only be able to view the information.

Leverage the Weighting System

Next, you will see how to add in weighting on a scorecard.

Click the X icon to close that form without making any changes.

Expand the left navigation.

Click on Scorecards in the Project Administration section again.

Click on the Standard Scorecard.

Right now, each of these three goals has been given equal value.

They are all equally important to your organization.

However, what if one or two of these goals were more important that another one?

For example, maybe it would be nice to decrease the length of client implementation time, but really it is way more important to increase sales.

In that case, you can give a higher weighting to the Sales increase goal than the Decrease in length of implementations goal.

To do that, you need to figure out what the weighting is going to be first.

Weights are entered in percentages and they usually must add up to 100%.

Click on the Edit icon on Decrease in length of client implementations.

Uncheck the option, Exclude from weighting?

By default this is checked, that you are not going to use weighting.

Click in the Weighting factor column and enter 30.

Click the Save icon on the line

That gives this goal a weighting factor of 30%.

Without doing anything else, click the Balance Scorecard text.

This tells Project Insight to review the calculations on the scorecard to make sure they are all set correctly and it also saves the scorecard at the same time.

You can see there is a big red section with the 30%.

Your weighting factors on this scorecard are set to have to add up to 100% and you only entered 30% so it is flagging that in red.

Click the Back icon.

Click the Edit icon for the Sales Increase goal.

Uncheck the option, Exclude from weighting?

Click in the Weighting factor column and enter 70.

Click the Save icon on the line

Click Balance Scorecard.

The red is gone because now the weights all add up to 100%.

Click the Back icon.

You can see that you can have weighted goals and un-weighted goals in the same scorecard.

The Alignment to strategy goal is not weighted.

To see how that works, click on Projects.

Collapse the left navigation.

Click the Edit icon, for the Implement CRM Software project.

Click on the Scorecard tab.

You will see that the weighted score has changed.

You did not change any of the scores you entered, but the weighted score changed because the weights were changed.

Now this project only has a weighted score of 12.90.

Before when it was not weighted the score was 22. Now it has dropped to 12.90 because even though it will decrease the length of client implementation times quite significantly and scored high on that goal, that is not as important as other factors.

So the raw score is 22, which is the added up value of all the scores for all the goals, but the weighted score, which is more important, is only 12.90.

When you have weights in your scorecard, the weighted score is the important score.

The raw score just becomes a reference.

How Weighted Scores are Calculated

Project Insight is calculating the score you enter and multiplies it by the weighted percentage value.

So for Decrease length of client implementation times, you scored it, but when you multiple it by the 30% weight, the weighted score is 3.

The Sales increase goals was scored as a 7 and that was multiplied by 70% to give that goal and weighted score of 4.9.

For non-weighted items, it just takes the actual score you enter.

Then it adds all those together to get your total weighted score.

Add a New Scorecard

That is a fairly simple scorecard. You saw how it worked without weighting and how it worked with weighting.

Next, you are going to see how to add a new scorecard and enter in goals, key performance indicators, which will be referred to as KPIs, and critical success factors, which are referred to as CSFs.

Click Save to save that score.

Expand the left navigation.

Click on Scorecards in the Project Administration section again.

Add a new scorecard by typing the name in the gray blank line.

Enter 2015 Scorecard.

Remember it was said earlier that if you did use weighting in your scorecard, that the percentage values assigned to the weights had to add up to 100%.

There is an option here that says, Balance Weighting Factors.

If that is checked, which it is by default, then it applies the rule that all the weights entered in the scorecard to have to add up to 100%.

If you do not care about that, then you can leave it unchecked and the weights you enter are free form and you can enter what you want.

Most people check that because it gives you a checks and balance on the percentages that you enter.

You can enter start and end dates of the scorecard, but these are references only and are not used to determine the active scorecard.

Active versus Inactive Scorecards

You can see that it is possible to set up multiple scorecards.

However, you can only have one active scorecard at one time.

You see only the Standard Scorecard is active, so only that one is currently applied to projects.

If you click on the active checkbox for this new scorecard, and click Save,you get a message that you can’t have two active scorecards at one time so this one will be saved as inactive.

Click Ok.

That scorecard is saved as inactive.

To make it active, you have to first inactivate the current one.

Click the edit icon for the Standard Scorecard.

Uncheck the Active checkbox.

Click Save.

Then activate the new one.

Click the edit icon for the 2015 Scorecard.

Check the Active checkbox.

Click Save.

Now this is the scorecard that is active and will be assigned to all projects.

How and When to Use KPIs and CSFs

To add in Goals, KPIs and CSFs, click on the name of the scorecard.

You start with a blank score card. You have to enter in goals first as that is the first tier or level.

Add in your first goal, by typing in the gray blank line.

Let’s assume in this scenario, you are doing internally facing projects and your customers are other departments in your organization.

The first goal you have is to Increase Customer Satisfaction, so enter that.

Tab out of that field and a Business Rules Guidance form appears.

This is where you enter the business rules you saw earlier.

Now, since you are going to enter a further breakdown of the Goal via Critical Success Factors, just click OK to leave the business rules blank at this level.

Leave all the rest of the options as they are and click the Save icon.

Now that you have a goal set up and again you can tell that by the blue color coding, you can create the critical success factors for it.

To do that, click the plus sign icon on the goal line.

The gray line where you add new items gets an indent on it, to indicate you are entering a critical success factor and not a goal.

Enter the name of the CSF, such as Reduce Costs.

Tab out that field.

In the Business Rules, type, 1 for no reduction, 5 for less than 50% and 10 for more than 50%.

Click OK.

Next, you tell Project Insight if you want to add to the score or subtract from the score. Click in that drop down.

The most common option here is adding to the score, although quite a few customers use the subtract function for more complex scoring algorithms.

So click on Adds to Score.

The next option is the Weighting option.

Again, you can either have weighting or not for CSFs.

Click on it to uncheck it.

Click in the Weighting Factor and enter 75 because saving money for your departments is an important goal.

Click Save.

You can see now that the Reduced cost is listed in light blue which indicates a critical success factor. It is also slightly indented.

Add the next CSF, by clicking on the + sign again on the Goal line.

Click in the name in the gray blank line and enter Customer Wants Change.

Maybe customers can request projects to change something in their business but it is not necessarily going to have any effect on the organization or the strategy. It is more of a ‘nice to have’ for that customer, so you want to record those items as well and give it a score.

Tab over to the business rules, enter 3 – No alignment to strategy, 7 – alignment to strategy.

Click on it to uncheck Exclude from Weighting.

Click in the Weighting Factor and enter 25.

You are going to give this a low weighting factor, but you still want it to carry some weight.

Click Save.

You could keep adding as many CSFs as you require.

Goals are indicated by the dark blue highlighting.

Critical Success Factors are indicated by the lighter blue highlighting.

Set up another Goal by just typing in the gray blank line at the bottom of the form without clicking on the plus sign icon.

Enter Increase Productivity.

Click Save.

Enter a CSF for it by clicking on the plus sign icon on the goal line.

Enter the name, such as Reduce number of hours.

Tab out of the name.

Enter 0 for no reduction, 5 for 10 hours or less and 10 for more than 10 hours.

Click OK.

Click Save.

Add the next CSF, by clicking on the + sign again on the Goal line.

Type the name in the gray blank line and enter Shorten delivery time.

Don’t change anything else, because you are going to set up KPIs for this critical success factor.

Click Save.

Now to enter a KPI, click on the plus sign icon on the critical success factor line.

Enter the name, such as Shortens activities

Tab out of the name.

Enter 0 for no reduction, 5 for 10 hours or less and 10 for more than 10 hours.

Click OK.

Click Save.

Click on it to uncheck Exclude from Weighting.

Click in the Weighting Factor and enter 40.

Click Save.

Now to enter a KPI, click on the plus sign icon on the critical success factor line.

Enter the name, such as Eliminates activities.

Tab out of the name.

Enter 0 for no reduction, 5 for 1 to 5 activities and 10 for more than 5 activities.

Click OK.

Click Save.

Click on it to uncheck Exclude from Weighting.

Click in the Weighting Factor and enter 60.

Click Save.

You may have noticed that the KPIs are displayed in white.

The color coding on the scorecard will tell you what information is what.

That’s a much more complex scorecard.

To see how that looks when you score a project with it, click on Projects.

Collapse the left navigation.

Click the Edit icon, for the Implement CRM Software project.

Click on the Scorecard tab.

When you have multiple tiers in a scorecard, you only enter the score at the lowest level in that tier.

For example, where you set up the KPIs, that’s the lowest level and that’s where you enter the score.

Click in the drop down for eliminates activities and enter a score of 5.

Click in the drop down for shortens activities and enter a score of 10.

The lowest level you entered for the rest was at the critical success factor level, so click in the drop down for each critical success factor and enter the score for it.

If you had a Goal with no critical success factors or key performance indicators, then you would score the project at that level as you saw on the first scorecard you saw in this session.

Click the Update Scorecard icon.

For the Weighted items, the weighted score is calculated by multiplying the weight by the score.

For the non-weighted CSF, the weighted score is just the value.

Then the weighted scores are all added up to give you the total weighted score for the project.

It still also gives you the raw score.

It is the total of all the score values you entered.

The maximum score is simply the number of goals you have defined multiplied by the maximum score available with is 10. So in this case, the maximum score you can get is a 30 if all the items were scored at a 10.

Hover on Save and select Save & Display project.

View Scorecard History

You have now made several changes to the scorecard and the priority of this project.

To view a history of that, hover on Views and click Status.

Click on the Scorecard tab.

Again, you can see all the information about the current scorecard.

But you can also see the Scorecard History.

You can see which Scorecard was used previously and what the score was at the time the scorecard was first created, and also the date it was scored.

You can also click the View Scorecard icon to see more details about the scorecard if you need to.

Run Reports to Prioritize the Portfolio


Portfolio Reports with Score

Now you have seen how to prioritize projects with a scorecard, what you will want to do next is run portfolio reports to see that priority and compare it with the priority of other projects. Hover on the Reports icon, hover on Project Reports and select the Projects by Priority report that you saw at the beginning of this session.

That priority field is still on this report. However, since you are using scorecards, you do not want to use this field, you want to display your scorecard score.

Click on the Display Options icon.

Click on the Column Selection Options section to expand that out if it is not already expanded.

In the Selected Columns, double click on the Priority column, because you no longer want to see that, it isn’t applicable to you because you are using scorecards.

In the Selected Columns, click on Name, because you want to add the scorecard score just before that.

Click in the Available columns, then type S to go to the fields that start with the letter S.

Scroll down until you see Scorecard Score and double click on it.

That moves it to your Selected Columns.

Click Run Report.

Now the scorecard score, will show.

Of course, each project manager will have to go and score all the other projects as well. This will allow you to see each project’s score and the highest scored projects will have the highest priority.

You can click on the column header to sort on that column to show the highest priority ones first.

Resource Reports with Scores and Priority

Another very common set of reports that you will view the score on, are the resource management reports.

Click on the Reports icon.

Click on Resource Reports.

Click on Create Project Resource Allocation Report.

Click on the Column Selection Options section to expand that out if it isn’t already.

In the Selected Columns, click on Admin, because you want to add the scorecard score just before that.

Click in the Available columns, then type P to go to the fields that start with the letter P.

Since this is resource report, the Scorecard Score has the word project in front it, so you know it is a project field and not a resource field.

Scroll down until you see Project Scorecard Score and double click on it.

That moves it to your Selected Columns.

Click Run Report.

Now the scorecard score will show.

You can see on this report that some of your resources are over-allocated.

This may have occurred for a couple of reasons, maybe some of your projects slipped, tasks took longer to complete or were delayed.

You can click on the arrow next to a resource that has some over allocations to see what projects that work is coming from.

For the higher priority projects, you will just leave that as you want them done first, and for the lower priority projects, you may reschedule those tasks or assign them to other resources to correct the over-allocation.

When you are assigning tasks in the first place, using this report, you can use this information to optimally assign resources, such as assigning the higher priority tasks and projects to your more senior resources and lower priority projects to more junior resources.

Tips for Creating Scorecards

When you are creating a scorecard, the hardest part will be to determine what your goals, critical success factors and key performance indicators should be and what their business rules and weights are going to be.

You should interview all of your key stakeholders to figure out what makes sense to your organization and your business strategy and requirements and that all might take some time.

If necessary, start simple with 2 or 3 main goals and then expand on those.

Factoring in Compliance, Regulatory or Housekeeping Projects

As discussed earlier, sometimes you just must do a project because it has a compliance, security, regulatory or legal aspect or you must do it simply to keep your business functioning.

In those cases, that project may not fall within your standard scorecard rules. There are a couple of different ways to handle that.

First, create a scorecard with only two goals. One goal is your regulatory goal and the other is all your other scoring criteria. If a project is a regulatory project, you just make it a 10 for that goal. If it is not, then leave that blank and set the other CSFs, and KPIs in the other goal as normal.

A regulatory project would get a 10 score, and a non-regulatory project would get a score between 0 and 10, so regulatory projects would always be in the highest priority. You could even weight the regulatory goal higher such as 60% and the other goal 40% so no matter what, the regulatory projects would always have the higher priority, no matter how well the project scored in the CSFs and KPIs.

You could also use the Scorecard Score and the Priority field together. Put compliance or regulatory projects as all priority 1s. Put all other projects as priority 2s, then use the Scorecard score as your secondary priority for those non-regulatory projects.


Online 12/3/2015
Updated on: