Using the Priority Matrix Canvas you can quickly and easily get to informed and transparent decisions within your team workshop. The visual prioritization tool helps you for example to focus on the right ideas, problems or solutions.
The Priority Matrix Canvas is a generic prioritization tool that allows you to assess ideas, problems, solutions, etc. based on two factors and subsequently to focus on the critical elements. By doing so you can freely choose the factors along both axes. One example would be the prioritization of projects based on the cost-benefit ratio: projects are ordered according to estimated costs on the x-axis and the expected benefit on the y-axis. In this case, the focus lies on the upper left quadrant (marked with “I”): there you can find the projects with low costs and high value.
The Priority Matrix helps you to select the most relevant and important options out of all possible ideas, tasks, projects, or other items by letting you first visually sort all items according to two dimensions (for example sorting tasks according to importance and urgency). Afterward, you can focus on the items in one of the quadrants, for instance, the ones in the upper right one. Make use of the Priority Matrix to clearly communicate and document decisions based on objective criteria.
For more information, see Data Strategy Design.
The starting position for the Priority Matrix is a collection of ideas, tasks, or other items which have been for example collected by a team during brainstorming. Examples are:
The next step is to identify, out of all these ideas and/ or tasks, the ones to which the team should dedicate its future attention and time.
For this, you need to define two factors together with the team which determine the prioritization. Afterward, you label the axes of the Priority Matrix (left side & lower side) with cards respectively.
Examples of prioritization factors are:
If there are more than two proposals for suitable factors, just let the team vote and select the two most voted factors.
Step 1 of 2
Now place the first card exactly in the middle of the Priority Matrix where the four quadrants (I, II, III, and IV) meet.
Ask the team: “How does this task/idea do regarding the first factor? Above or below average?” Move the card on the X-axis accordingly until the team agrees on its horizontal position.
Proceed with the second factor and its vertical position in the same way, meaning to position it on the Y-axis accordingly.
Step 2 of 2
Repeat this procedure (questioning and positioning of the card as described above) for every further idea or task. If the team is not sure about a card’s position, you can ask: “How do you evaluate the current card’s position relative to the first, second, and so forth card, regarding the first and respectively the second factor?”
It’s crucial that the cards’ relative position reflects the teams’ assessment.
Therefore, at the end of the process when all ideas, tasks, etc. have been placed on the Priority Matrix, you should (again) ask the question if every card’s position does reflect its relative position compared to the others. If necessary you need to readjust a card’s position. Finally, you select those cards which should be the team’s focus during the rest of the workshop. Usually, those are the cards in the upper right quadrant (number II), for instance, the tasks with high importance and high urgency.
In case there are no cards in this quadrant, just choose the cards in the lower right one (number IV) or the cards in the upper left one (number I) as an alternative.
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