Meisterplan, Tips & Tricks

Prioritising Projects – Doing what matters

Tace 28th November 2018

One of the features of Meisterplan is that the allocation method can use the priority within the system to determine the order in which projects are resourced. To fully utilise this, it’s worth thinking about how projects are prioritised and how the tool can be used to apply some objectivity to the process. For this we will look at the Project Score feature that was added to Meisterplan in 2017.

In order to use these features it will be necessary for the user to have the “Project Score Sorting Rights for Project List” box checked on the Rights Tab within their user account.

To ensure that any changes made during this exercise can be reviewed, and if necessary amended, before committing them to the Plan of Record, the first step should be to create a new Scenario and compare it to the Plan of Record:

Some projects will need to be completed regardless of other considerations e.g. those required for regulatory/legal reasons or those which are concerned with building infrastructure on which important business solutions rely. These may be placed above the “Must Have” line and not considered within this process.

Now, to address the bulk of the projects, it is necessary to consider what criteria are important to the business in deciding project priorities. Deciding and agreeing this offline is often the hardest part of the process – the work required in the tool is simple in comparison!

For the purposes of this exercise, we will use four factors as examples – the project’s overall Risk, its Strategy Fit, the Customer for whom work is being performed and the Security Implications of the project. Each of these is configured as a Custom Field in the system, which must be of the “Lookup” type. When creating the lookups it is necessary to add a rating for Project Score for each of the lookup values:

In this example the Risk value of Low has been assigned a score of 20. Once all of the values of an attribute have been assigned a score these can be seen when editing the attribute.

Meisterplan calculates the Project Score as a simple total of all of the score values entered against each of the relevant attributes. So, a factor can be given a higher weighting by assigning it a larger score. As you can see in the example above, the score value can be negative to reflect undesirable values (e.g. “we really don’t want risky projects”)

Once the attributes have been decided and their values assigned scores, each project can be rated and their total Project Score calculated. To facilitate this there is a Tab on the Project Edit screen (labelled Project Score):

This shows the attributes that have been selected to contribute to the Project Score and their current values. A score will still be generated if any fields do not contain a value – e.g. in our example if only Risk is populated the score will be 20, 10 or -5 according to the setting. If none of the fields have been populated the score will be 0. At the top of this Tab you can also see the Current Rank (as inherited from the Plan of Record when the current Scenario was created) and its ranking by Project Score. If there is a difference, there is also a button to move the project to that rank. This may be used to rate each project and move them individually to their score-based ranking. Ideally, these ratings should be completed when the project is created. Alternatively, the values may be imported as part of a data upload, either when a new system is being created or when an existing one is being updated.

An individual project may also be moved on the main screen by right-clicking and selecting “Sort by Project Score” from the pop-up menu.

If a project has been moved in this way the change from the Plan of Record may be seen in the Project Hint by hovering over its title:

Whilst rating every project and moving it individually to its revised ranking may be practical for a small number of projects, it is less so if there are many projects to be considered. In this case it may be more straightforward to sort all of the discretionary projects at once. To facilitate this, there is an option on the right hand menu:

First, select the top project below the Must Have line, then open the menu and click on “Sort by Project Score”. A new dialogue box opens:

Select the second option to rank all of the projects below the “Must Have” line according to their project scores. A confirmation box appears, press “Yes” to proceed.

It is worth noting that projects may be moved below the “Cut Off” line by this function. This may indicate that the project is a very low priority, or possibly that some attributes have not been set correctly. If this is the case they may be amended using the Project Score Tab of the Project Edit screen and then moved to their appropriate rank as shown above. Once all of the projects have been ranked, the revised priorities may be reviewed and any individual adjustments made as necessary. When you are satisfied with the priorities, the scenario can be applied as the new Plan of Record.

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Meisterplan is a browser-based project portfolio and resource management tool. With a simple, clear graphic interface, users can view, manage and model work demand against resource capacity.

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