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  • AlexHurworth

A Framework for Prioritization

Updated: Aug 31, 2023

A graph illustrating the relationship between Reward and Effort. There is a checkmark over the square that has low effort and high reward, and an X on the square that is high effort and low reward.

Some of my clients are those who were recently promoted to manager or leader from an individual contributor role.

When this kind of transition happens, it’s often necessary to talk about prioritization and ways to avoid overwhelm.

For example, one of my clients is a User Experience (UX) Design Manager. She was recently promoted from an individual contributor.

In the past she was able to focus on her (singular) project; she worked in a scrum team and her work was broken down so she would only pull into the sprint an amount of work that could be reasonably completed within two weeks.

Since becoming a manager, she suddenly found that her work no longer neatly fits into a box.

She is now responsible for any number of questions, new project consultations, escalations about her team members’ performance from her peers in product management and Engineering, and there’s no predicting how many things she now has to deal with.

She’s often not sure what to do when more than one appointment shows up at the same time on her calendar - how can she be in two places at the same time? It’s messy.

We spent time getting strategic with her calendar. Firstly, we got clear on her priorities, and the types of activities that she was uniquely capable of or responsible for.

Secondly, she would identify other team members well suited for everything else.

Thirdly, she would allow some slack in her new system to allow for unexpected. In the same way a fire station has fire fighters waiting around for the next emergency call, she needed to plan for the unplanned - not just to be available, but also to have the oxygen to entertain a new and urgent fire drill.

Since delegation was something that left her feeling uncomfortable, we decided that would be the focus of our next session.

What was the transition from IC to manager like for you?

And do you take a strategic approach to your calendar, or do you let your calendar rule you?

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