Four ways the NHS can prioritise during digital transformation

In February 2020, the NHS named 23 Trusts as the first sites for its Digital Aspirant programme. The programme aims to “help these Trusts raise their digital maturity by supporting organisations to deliver a set of core capabilities, reducing the gap between the levels of digitisation across the NHS”. 

Since then, the NHS has had an incredibly challenging period, but in March 2021 an additional 32 Trusts still joined the programme. Now, how can the NHS decide what to prioritise throughout this period of digital transformation?

Here are four prioritisation methods that you and your team can implement today to stay on track.

Build it up and break it down

A good starting point can be to create a master list at the start of each month, including all tasks that need to be completed. This will give you full visibility of what needs to be done. This list can then be broken down into daily, weekly and monthly goals. This can be done at an individual level and at a team level and will help to show how these tasks support your end goal as an organisation.

Enter the matrix

Even if you have listed them all, understanding which tasks to start first can be daunting. One way to visualise your starting point is to use the Important/Urgent matrix. Divide a square in to four smaller squares. The top left square represents tasks that are urgent and important, these should be tackled right away. The top right square represents tasks that are important but not urgent. These tasks should be scheduled to ensure they are completed before they become urgent.

The bottom left represents urgent, unimportant tasks. If possible, these can be delegated. Finally, the bottom right square represents unurgent, unimportant tasks. These tasks can either be eliminated or left until last.


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Try MoSCoW

An alternative to the Important/Urgent matrix is the MoSCoW method. This is particularly useful for digital development teams to determine between must haves and nice-to-haves. M stands for ‘must have’, S stands for ‘should have’, C is for ‘could have’ while W stands for ‘won’t have’ (the ‘o’s are just there to make pronunciation easier). An easy way to understand this is to think of a sandwich. The must-haves would be a filling and bread. If you don’t have those ingredients, you don’t have a sandwich. A should have might be butter or some sort of spread. While technically still a sandwich without these things, most people would want them. A could have might be a garnish or sauce. These additions are more down to personal preference, but may well add to it and improve the experience. The won’t haves might include a side dish to accompany it. While some people might want this, it certainly wouldn’t be seen as unreasonable not to include them.

Lean in

Another way to look at prioritising is to use the Lean prioritisation method. This also uses a Matrix, this time visualising how important a task is vs how much effort it will require. High effort, high importance task can be worked on over an extended time, while low effort, highly important tasks can be chipped away at as needed. Low effort, low importance tasks can be done if time allows, while high effort, low important tasks should be reconsidered and potentially left off.

There are many other prioritisation methods available and finding the combination that works for your team may take time. As with any method though, the most important thing is to get started. Open conversations with your team, see what methods they use themselves and together you’ll be able to create an efficient and successful plan for your digital transformation project.

Transformation can be an exciting and challenging time.Contact us to find out how we can support you during these projects.  



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