To best manage the flow of multiple projects through an IT department, a combination of sensibility and real metrics is necessary.
It is essential for IT managers to be aware of the emotional state of their departments. Managers who practice openness and transparency with their employees, and are aware of their morale, will foster an environment of collaboration that will enable them to better receive an early warning from their employees if they are becoming overwhelmed.
When there are many projects with solid ROI, working closely with business units will help the CIO focus on those projects that are best aligned with the company's business strategy.
Additionally, projects that require fewer of the IT department's scarce resources are more desirable.
IT infrastructure projects may not have direct monetary returns that are immediately visible. However, investing in IT infrastructure is essential because it enables the improvement of existing IT services and the creation of new ones.
Projects and tasks that do not deliver immediate value and do not support the company's core business services should be outsourced.
Managing the flow of projects through an IT department is more than just science. Although metrics are always needed as a reference point, it is more important to be aware of the organizational culture and to keep the IT department aligned with business units. When vision and priorities are in harmony across all departments, the flow of projects will determinately remain in balance.