How We Prioritize Projects

A colleague was peeved about the lack of progress in one of the products I manage and challenged the way I allocated resources over the past year. I explained to him my methodology, which perhaps you will find helpful as well:

We start with a list of all the projects we might undertake.

For each project we write the name of the project on the front of an index card, and the expected benefits to users on the back.

Then we carefully lay out all the cards on the floor of a big conference room.

Finally, we release a monkey into the conference room and whichever cards the monkey picks up represent the projects we’ll undertake. Unfortunately last year the monkey thought Project A was more important than Project B, thus your disappointment.

The good news is that Pete – that’s the monkey’s name – thinks Project B is going to be the big thing in 2009. Also good news, he decided not to poop in the conference room this year.