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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
No fixed scores and formula. We use 0 to 3 score range and calculate the sum of average team scores.
Reach * Impact * Confidence / Effort
No fixed formula. You can use the average sum.
WSJF is a compound framework used for prioritizing development features, initiatives, and epics.
User-Business Value + Time Criticality + Risk Reduction + Opportunity Enablement / Job Size
DHM is a model to focus on brand development and long term company vision.
No fixed scores and formula.
Feature Buckets is a model for sorting features and ideas by their impact.
No fixed scores and formula.
HEART is a framework for prioritizing UX improvement ideas.
REAN is a framework for prioritizing marketing activities
This is a method of prioritizing content ideas, developed by Ducalis.io team.
Here are some tips and tricks to improve and complete your own prioritization system.
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.
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:
After a few cycles of evaluation, you'll see how much the ideas are misleading to your North Star Metric.
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:
And much more for teams who care to build shared understanding for impactful results.
Feature prioritization based on five user-behavior metrics every business should be considering.
Marketing prioritization based on five user-behavior metrics every business should be considering.
Visual division of a task list in four parts depending on the best sequence of action
Marketing activities prioritization based on the objective impact and team efforts.
Lean Prioritization for a visual representation of the backlog in four parts depending on the task ROI
Marketing activities prioritization based on user value and team effort.