How to Prioritize with the Weighted Decision Matrix Template
1. Customize Teams
- Rename the tabs with the teams that will evaluate the issues. The template has two teams: Product Managers and Devs.
- Go to the tab Factors and change the team names there also.
2. Customize Criteria
- The spreadsheet has example criteria in the Factors tab. You can use them or change to yours.
We have different sets of criteria for the teams. Our criteria examples:
Product Managers Team
- Money—Influences the money income.
- Activation—Helps to understand how the product works.
- Retention—Increase user's motivation to use the product again.
- Service—Helps us spend on customer support less time without quality loss.
- Ads—Increase the amount of Facebook Ads a user launches via our product. Important for Facebook Marketing Partnership.
- Posting—Helps to create more templates or custom posts. Shows the advantage of posting and analysis via the tool. Customers post more via the service.
- Reach—How many customers or product units or how much money this feature will affect.
- Time—Time spent on development, complexity.
- Value—Importance for development and product.
- Add each criterion a description in the Factors tab using comments. Add the descriptions in the each team tab also so that users see them when evaluating. Don’t keep descriptions in separate tabs, no one likes switching.
- Set each criterion weight from -3 to 3 in the Factors tab. Weight is a ratio showing the criterion importance regarding the others. Criteria estimating efforts, like Time or Complexity, must have negative weight.
3. Set Up the Formula
- The evaluation results appear in the Total tab. By default, the data is taken from columns A through O in the Factors tab. If there are more/fewer criteria, they must be added/removed from the formula.
- Issues with Done, In Review, Test, Bug, or Epic statuses do not fall into the Total by default either. If you need to change this setting, add/remove the required statuses from the formula.
4. Determine the Top Priorities
Top priority issues appear in the Total tab. The Total Value is calculated by the formula:
Total Value = Criterion 1 * Factor 1 + Criterion 2 * Factor 2 + Criterion 3 * Factor 3 + Criterion N * Factor N.
Issues with a high number of scores will be at the top of the list. Determine the number of tasks your team can add to their future sprint. The weighted decision matrix spreadsheet has 20 issues highlighted in the Total tab. You can change the number of top issues using the conditional formatting function.
5. Evaluate the Issues
Go to your team tab to estimate the issues. Evaluate each issue by each criterion assigning scores from 0 to 3 where:
- 0—No Impact
- 1—Low Impact
- 2—Medium Impact
- 3—High Impact
Decide the evaluation workflow with the teams. We evaluated the issues once a week and chose Friday as our prioritization day to sync.
How to add existing issues to the decision matrix
This template is set up for Jira. You can customize it for Asana, Trello, or any other issue tracker, but it may require more tweaking from you. Basically, you need to export the issues from your PM tool in CSV and paste the data into the spreadsheet.
- Go to filters. Create a filter for the project with the issues you need to prioritize. Select all issues and all statuses. Make sure that the columns in the filter match the Google Sheets spreadsheet columns. Save the filter and export in CSV.
- Import as a new tab and copy all tasks to the Jira issues tab.
Add Jira Issue Links
Each issue has a link to Jira so that you can open it and read the description.
- Open any issue and copy the domain link ending with browse/.
- Add the link to the Jira Domain for links field on the Factors tab.
How to automate the weighted decision matrix
You can try connecting the spreadsheet with your issue tracker with some tools. Here is our guide on how to integrate Jira with Google Sheets via Zapier or Automate.io.
Prioritization in the Google Sheets spreadsheets may seem easy and perfect at first. But after some time, you’ll probably start having problems like issue import crashing, lots of duplicated or lost data rows, the spreadsheet freezing when several people evaluate at once, or teams forgetting to evaluate at all.
We even had a Google Sheets admin who was continually fixing the formula and all else. After two months of suffering, we took this weighted decision matrix as a basis and made our prioritization tool—Ducalis.
Ducalis is super fast and has a low learning curve. Formulas never crash, and notifications remind users when it’s time to prioritize. You can:
- use it as a spreadsheet to add tasks manually
- import tasks from a tracker or Google Sheets with a csv file
- integrate it with your issue tracker, and the tasks will get uploaded and updated in real-time
Give Ducalis a try—it’s free! Sign up and try adding a few tasks for evaluation. And when you see that it fits you, invite your teammates and forget the prioritization headache.