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This information is intended to convey the underlying concepts for Reclamation's decision processes. It is not mandatory.
See the Reclamation Manual for official Reclamation-wide requirements.

Reclamation's Decision Process Guide


go through page Define / Establish / Juggle / Go On

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navigate in the page--Defining Priority

Priority boils down to the amount of pressure to get the job done. This pressure may come from many arenas, including administrative priorities, legislative mandates, court decisions, and on-the -ground factors. Higher priorities command more attention, staff, and money at a given time. Lower priorities aren't dropped completely, but they have fewer allocated resources.

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navigate in the page--Establishing Reclamation's Priority

Determining what has priority is really a matter of deciding what tradeoffs*definition to make.

Priority starts at a local level by listing community-based issues consistent with Reclamation's mission. This list provides a backdrop to determine which watershed issues and regional needs are most pressing or important. Public involvement efforts on projects, public affairs offices, and other internal resources as well as news media and local organizations are good sources of information. Reality checks help to determine what is important. Issues are then examined on an increasingly larger scale to determine priority (local, regional, national). The Administration's (President's, Secretary's, and Commissioner's) statements of public policy and programs as well as the Congress' mandates to determine the issues that are being emphasized (e.g., wetlands, water conservation, waste water reuse, and water quality) reflect this examination. Call letters*definition and previous appropriations will also point out priority work.

Priorities need to be determined:

Prioritize objectives to decide what will drive the process. Ranking techniques can help do this.

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(See what's important.)

Priority stacks*definition show which issues take precedence. This could be a simple list or a bunch of yellow stickies in order of priority. This stack will keep everyone focused on the important items.

priority rolodex

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navigate in the page--Juggling Priorities

Priorities are not set up to be executed in lock-step fashion. Instead, various activities with varying degrees of priority can be accomplished by putting more energy and effort into the higher prioirty items than the lower ones.

Constraints on your process may change the priority. An issue or program that may burning at one point may be put on the back burner by the next administration. Politics and agendas change.

You may have four number one priorities on your desk--and your resources will be pultled in more directions. Priorities may differ from one level of the organization to another, and among organizations. This often requires negotiation and clarification at higher levels. Realistically determine what can be done and communicate with all involved parties The more programs are aware of other priorities and limitations, the more efficiently resources can be used.

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navigate in the page--Go On

Remember that there will always be another effort with a higher priority.

Executive Summary Tour Take this car on a fast tour Agendas <------> Risk

Dragon Tour wide-eyed dragon on the loose Politics <-------> Change

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Please contact Deena Larsen 303-445-2584 with questions or comments on this material.