Complexity and Urgency

Two slides in my presentation for EXL’s Digital Medical Device West presentation I’m finding to be simple, but incredibly important to keep in mind.

The first is a Complexity Assessment. I found a grid created by the College of William and Mary (Word doc download) that takes five complexity factors into consideration. Each is scored as a 0, 1, or 2 and a composite score greater than 5 is a High Complexity project.

I tweaked the grid slightly for my purposes, but I find it very helpful when engaging a project to be very mindful of the level of complexity in setting expectations with others.

The factors:

  • Number of Project Members: <5=0, 5-9=1, >9=2
  • Project Duration: <6 mos=0, 7-12=1, >12=2
  • Cost: <$50K=0, $50-500=1, >$50=2
  • Number of Departments: 1-2=0, 3-5=1, >5=2
  • Technology: standardized=0, early adopter=1, brand new=2

The second slide I put together is a very simple grid.

In the top left Urgent & Important, top right Not Urgent & Important, bottom left Urgent & Not Important, and bottom right Not Urgent & Not Important.

Every task and project can be put into this matrix and different people within a project team will potentially view the project and its tasks in different squares.

Recognizing how other team members view your project and its tasks is critical to keeping to your timeline. We were able to plan, design, and configure on time because everyone in creative, IT, and our implementation provider bought into Urgent & Important.

Marketing on the other hand, didn’t buy-in completely and we missed our targeted launch by six months as a result. We got buy-in when we presented to the VP’s of marketing and they directed their teams to get it done. The directive moved marketing from top right to top left, they gained a sense of urgency.


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