Published September 12th, 2016 by

Why Sometimes you Have to Say NO to Projects!

In all businesses, small or big, time and resources are huge assets yet they always seem to be in short supply. Learning to evaluate which projects need to be prioritized and which need to be left alone is vital to the success of the company.

Let’s start off by discussing a few ways you can determine which projects to take on and which ones to decline:

  1. Begin by quantifying the strategic business goals.

This is when high level directors of the organization will sit down and evaluate the business objectives. For example, to increase sales grow by a 20 per cent, improve operational efficiency by 5%, and to obtain 200€ million in revenue.

  1. Defining how much value each project adds to each goal and/or to the final goal.

If you find yourself with too many projects to take on, define each one, its goal and whether or not it provides more advantages than disadvantages.  Essentially, determine what motivates the business to take on the project. Would it provide your company a competitive advantage, monetary benefits, improved reputation, business opportunities, etc. Some projects might be less useful than others and thus  less useful to your company and shouldn’t be taken on. Once you have prioritized the projects you can now focus on setting a timeline and budget.

  1. Specify a budget, define a timeline and other resources available.

It is important that at the beginning of the project there is a budget set aside and that each task within the project has its own allocated funds. In addition, any deadlines should also be specified at the beginning. This will ensure that there is organization from the very beginning and that expectations are defined from the start.

  1. Use a prioritization matrix

Gather all the information you can about each potential project in as much detail as possible. Once you feel you have enough, you can create a project evaluation (prioritization matrix), which will rate each project based on a set of criteria.  Possible criteria categories could be: ease of implementation, estimated cost, potential revenue, etc. You can then use a weighed scale to determine which one has the best rating in each category. For instance, 1 to 5, 5 meaning the completion of the project is critical and should be prioritized, 1 meaning it is not.


You should also consider using a program management software to help guide you in the right direction. Great tools can truly do great things, such as allow you to easily share information about future projects with your team members and collaborate on improving your prioritization matrix.

In fact, trying to juggle too many things at once can actually taint your reputation as a successful project manager. Agreeing to every project often means making room for work that can’t fit in your schedule. This will increase your chances of underperforming, missing deadlines and letting your clients down. Nonetheless, your firm can lose significant revenue and even face penalties for delays because of contract agreements.


It’s up to projects managers to break the vicious cycle that can lead the company to its doom. A poorly implemented project schedule or even a prioritization matrix creates an ineffective program management practice. It isn’t enough to know which projects to prioritize if you don’t do everything in your power to prioritize them. After you determine which projects are first to be completed, start by continuously monitoring staff and overlooking all the work being done. It may be time consuming at first but it will help keep pressure on team members to stay on task and on time. This will also allow you to be there in case any unforeseen risks arise or anyone finds a problem in need of solving.

Try out ITM Platform, the PPM software that will help you instantly become an expert project juggler, without the stress and pressure that comes with it. Learn more by visiting

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