How to make impactful things

The best ideas on prioritization and decisions on what to do next.

All Prioritization Tempales

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AARRR Feature Prioritization

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AARRR
Features

Feature prioritization based on five user-behavior metrics every business should be considering.

AARRR Marketing Prioritization

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AARRR
Marketing

Marketing prioritization based on five user-behavior metrics every business should be considering.

Eisenhower Matrix

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2x2 Matrix

Visual division of a task list in four parts depending on the best sequence of action

HEART UX Priorities

HEART
Features
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Prioritize design ideas and features to improve user experience.

ICE Feature Prioritization

ICE
Features
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Feature prioritization based on the objective impact and team efforts.

ICE Marketing Prioritization

ICE
Marketing
All

Marketing activities prioritization based on the objective impact and team efforts.

Impact Effort Matrix

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2x2 Matrix

Lean Prioritization for a visual representation of the backlog in four parts depending on the task ROI

REAN Marketing Prioritization

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REAN
Marketing

Marketing prioritization based on four stages of the buyer's journey.

RICE Feature Prioritization

RICE
Features
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Feature prioritization based on user value and team efforts.

RICE Marketing Prioritization

RICE
Marketing
All

Marketing activities prioritization based on user value and team effort.

VRDT Content Prioritization

VRDT
All

Prioritize content ideas to get more targeted traffic.

WSJF Bugs Prioritization

Bugs
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Business-driven bug prioritization for maximum economic benefit.

WSJF Feature Prioritization

WSJF
Features
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Business-driven feature prioritization for maximum economic benefit.

Weighted Decision Matrix Prioritization

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Weighted Decision
Features
Marketing

Weighted prioritization based on your business-specific metrics and criteria.

What a priority matrix is

A priority matrix is a management tool for determining the development vector where priorities are visually divided into four (or more) quadrants.

There are matrices for personal time management and complex business projects. Most of them have derived from the Eisenhower matrix created to manage personal tasks.

A prioritized backlog visually divided into 2x2 matrix in Ducalis.io

When to use a priority matrix

Use an action priority matrix when you have limited resources and you want to distribute them rationally to maximize performance and ROI.

Placing backlog tasks into four quadrants will help you visualize their impact on the main business objectives. Focus the team efforts on one of the four quadrants to have a clear understanding of where you’re heading, what results, and when to expect.

How the quadrants work

One of the most efficient and easy to use is the 2x2 matrix. It consists of two evaluation criteria: one positive (e.g., Value, Impact, or Revenue) and one negative(e.g., Effort, Costs, or Risk).

Tasks evaluated by the criteria are divided into four quadrants:

  • Quadrant 1—high positive score and low negative score.
    This quadrant is often called Quick Wins, and its tasks are low-hanging fruit that will bring you positive results immediately. Most likely, you should do these tasks first.
  • Quadrant 2—high positive score and high negative score.
    Here are your Major Projects that won’t bring immediate results but are strategically valuable and should be considered on your roadmap.
  • Quadrant 3—low positive score and low negative score.
    These are so-called Fill-Ins—cheap solutions with no significant impact. These tasks should be further discussed and implemented only when you have extra resources.
  • Quadrant 4—low positive score and high negative score.
    These are Thankless Tasks. They bring little to no value and cost you a lot. Delete them or reconsider the solution to become more valuable.

How to create and use a priority matrix

1. Think of what is currently important to your business to come up with appropriate criteria.

Do you have deadlines, and time is critical? Or you must avoid risks at all costs?

Two criteria are enough for a fast and simple prioritization. Yet, they aren’t enough for complex projects where you must consider and juggle multiple stages of user behavior or business objectives. We in Ducalis.io estimate all the vital elements for our product and just filter the matrix by the criteria we need more focus on at some point in time.

We hide some criteria to consider tasks influencing only the objective important now.

2. Decide on the score range.

What numbers will your team use when estimating the criteria?

Each criterion should be evaluated by the same numbers with prescribed interpretation. We use numbers from 0 to 3 where 0—no impact, 1—low impact, 2—medium impact, 3—high impact.

We use criteria tooltips so that we don't have to keep in mind what they and the scores mean.

3. Estimate all the necessary tasks together with the team.

Who takes part in the project and can bring a unique perspective to the table? Does the project require only engineers or designers and copywriters’ efforts as well?

Considering each task by the whole team strengthens your shared understanding and gives the best prioritization results. In our team, managers evaluate feature Reach and Revenue, engineers and UX/UI—Development Time, and everybody must estimate Activation, Retention, and two product-specific criteria, Speed and Collaboration.

Most of the criteria we evaluate together to keep our shared understanding solid, and specific ones we leave to experts.

4. Study and discuss the prioritization results.

Why have these features made it to the top? Do you all agree they are most valuable now and must be implemented?

Never take the prioritization result into work unquestioningly. Prioritization is a tool to help you make the right decisions and not make them instead of you. Discuss your top priorities with the team at the planning meeting and make sure you all understand what must be done, why this way, and why it’s important.

To Sum Up

A priority matrix is simple and efficient. You can make it far more powerful by using automation tools. Ducalis.io allows you to create a complex prioritization framework you can use both as a weighted decision matrix and action priority matrix and switch the criteria focus in no time.

Try our matrix templates. Free to sign up and free to use. No credit cards. Just jump in and prioritize for your growth.

In this article, we quickly mention some of the popular frameworks, explain when to use them, and their pros and cons.

All the mentioned frameworks are available in Ducalis.io. You can hit a framework link in the article or choose a framework during our onboarding.

Early Stage

These frameworks are great for startups and products in the early stages of development. They are suitable for features, ideas, hypotheses, marketing activities, and jobs prioritization as a whole.

1) AARRR

  • Acquisition—How will this solution increase the number of people we attract to the website/app?
  • Activation—How will this solution increase the number of people who start using?
  • Retention—Will this solution increase the number of people who regularly use the product?
  • Referral—Will this solution increase the number of people eager to tell others about the product?
  • Revenue—Will this solution increase the number of people who pay for product usage?

No fixed scores and formula. We use 0 to 3 score range and calculate the sum of average team scores.

Pros:

  • Considers all essential stages of user behavior
  • Weight changes allow you to move focus fast

Cons:

  • Doesn’t consider costs and efforts
Read more about AARRR
Prioritize with AARRR

2) RICE

  • Reach—How many people will this feature affect within a defined time period?
  • Impact—How much will this feature impact the objective when a customer encounters it?
  • Confidence—How confident are you in your reach and impact estimates?
  • Effort—How much time will the feature require from the whole team: product, design, and engineering?

Reach * Impact * Confidence / Effort

Pros:

  • A simple framework for a start;
  • Allows to focus on a single objective;
  • Considers efforts;

Cons:

  • Doesn’t consider multiple aspects of the product;
  • Vague criteria, you may interpret differently from task to task;
Read more about RICE
Prioritize with RICE

3) ICE

  • Impact—How impactful this initiative or key feature will be.
  • Confidence—Conviction warranting the feature build out.
  • Ease—Work required for the feature delivery.

No fixed formula. You can use the average sum.

Pros:

  • Quick and simple;
  • Allows to focus on a single objective;
  • Considers efforts;

Cons:

  • Doesn’t consider multiple aspects of the product;
  • Vague criteria, you may interpret differently from task to task;
  • Scoring from 1 to 10 is too precise, challenging to estimate adequately; (we use the Fibonacci sequence in our template)
Read more about ICE
Prioritize with ICE

Product Prioritization Frameworks

1) WSJF

WSJF is a compound framework used for prioritizing development features, initiatives, and epics.

  • User-Business Value—What is the value to the customer or business? What is the revenue impact on our business? Are there negative impacts if we delay?
  • Time Criticality—Does the value decay over time? Is there a fixed deadline? Will users wait for the solution?
  • Risk Reduction—Does it reduce future delivery risks?
  • Opportunity Enablement—Will this feature enable new business opportunities?
  • Job Size—How long will the implementation take? Are there dependencies that can make it more time-consuming?

User-Business Value + Time Criticality + Risk Reduction + Opportunity Enablement / Job Size

Pros:

  • Considers both business values and development risks and efforts.

Cons:

  • Prioritization takes more time, as it’s not easy to calculate the estimates.
Read more about WSJF
Prioritize with WSJF

2) DHM

DHM is a model to focus on brand development and long term company vision.

  • Delighter—How will it delight customers?
  • Hard-to-Copy—Will it make the product hard to copy for competitors?
  • Margin-enhancer—Will it increase business profits?

No fixed scores and formula.

Pros:

  • Changing weights allows you to focus on what’s important for the strategy now.

Cons:

  • Doesn’t consider costs and efforts.
Prioritize with DHM

3) Feature Buckets

Feature Buckets is a model for sorting features and ideas by their impact.

  • Metric Mover—Improves the product key metric
  • Customer Requests—Requested by customers
  • Delights—Based on insights in design. Customers would love it
  • Strategic—Important for business values and goals

No fixed scores and formula.

Pros:

  • Changing weights allows you to focus on the features of a certain type.

Cons:

  • Doesn’t consider costs and efforts.
Prioritize with Feature Buckets

4) HEART

HEART is a framework for prioritizing UX improvement ideas.

  • Happiness—How do users feel about your product?
  • Engagement—How often a user interacts with a product or service because of the feature?
  • Adoption—How many people complete the onboarding process and become regular users?
  • Retention—What percentage of users are returning to the product because of the feature?
  • Task Success—Can users achieve their goals or task quickly and easily?

Pros:

  • High focus on user satisfaction.

Cons:

  • Doesn’t consider costs and efforts.
Prioritize with HEART

Marketing Prioritization Frameworks

1) REAN

REAN is a framework for prioritizing marketing activities

  • Reach—Will this task help us attract more relevant traffic to the website?
  • Engage—Will this task help us encourage visitors to interact with the website?
  • Activate—Will this task increase the number of conversions?
  • Nurture—Will this task help us encourage customers to return to the website?

Pros:

  • Consider the main stages of the user journey.

Cons:

  • Doesn’t consider costs and efforts.
Read more about REAN
Prioritize with REAN

2) VRDT

This is a method of prioritizing content ideas, developed by Ducalis.io team.

  • Volume—How much traffic may the content bring? How many people search for the topic?
  • Relevance—How easily can we convert the traffic? How well can the topic promote us and get customers?
  • Difficulty—How difficult it will be to rank? Is our domain rating high enough to rank for the topic?
  • Time—How long will it take the team to create?

Pros:

  • Allows you to choose content with the highest traffic opportunity.

Cons:

  • Requires well described ideas with prior keyword research.
Read more about VRDT
Prioritize with VRDT

Prioritization PRO Tips

Here are some tips and tricks to improve and complete your own prioritization system.

1) Efforts and Costs

Most of the frameworks mentioned above have a drawback of not considering efforts and costs. This is easy and critical to fix. Prioritization makes little sense when it takes into account only values. Any job requires investments like time or money or both. Add criteria with negative weights to any framework missing them.

2) North Star Metric

The North Star Metric is the fundamental measure of success for the product team in a company. To find your North Star Metric, you must understand the core value you bring and try to convey it as a single metric. Famous examples of unique metrics are Airbnb "Nights booked" and Facebook "Daily Active Users."

If you know your company's North Star Metric, add it to your prioritization criteria. It will stimulate your teammates to think about how the next brilliant idea helps your company enhance its customers' core value a lot more. Lead the initiatives through a question: 

  • Does this feature help us grow "the special metric"?

After a few cycles of evaluation, you'll see how much the ideas are misleading to your North Star Metric.

3) OKRs

To use your OKRs for prioritization, you can develop a set of questions that the issues should go through.

Let's assume that one of your team's objectives is to increase the number of link clicks by 60%. To achieve it, you will probably need to increase the amount of website traffic in general, so, when considering some new features, you might ask yourself a question: Will this help me to increase traffic? And your other objective is to lower the cost per conversion by 20%, and when considering marketing tools, you might ask yourself questions like: Is this tool/service expensive? Is this tool/service efficient?

For these reasons, you may come up with such criteria:

  • Traffic—Does this bring a lot of users to the website?
  • Cost—Does it cost a lot?
  • Conversion—Does it help to convert visitors into buyers?
  • Time—Will it take a lot of time to complete the task?

Try Ducalis for free:

  • Big prioritization framework library
  • Flexible criteria set up
  • Team alignment reports
  • Team reminders and notifications
  • Two-way sync with your task tracker
  • Task tracking
  • Collaborative evaluation

And much more for teams who care to build shared understanding for impactful results.

Read about other useful prioritization techniques