Impact Urgency Priority Matrix Excel

In Project Portfolio Management (PPM), PPM 101
  • The Scoring Matrix defines the categories and criteria for scoring each candidate feature under consideration. It is divided into 2 major categories of Business Value and Implementation Complexity. Business value includes the rating of value to your customers in addition to the value to your company as it pertains to strength of the feature in.
  • Based on selecting both Impact and Urgency, in a third cell the resultant Priority would be shown. The kicker is: if a 'weight' can be attached to provide granularity to the Priority (ie. Impact =1, Urgency =1; Priority =1 with a weight of 29.Impact =2, Urgency =3; Priority =3 with a weight of 15 and so forth).

In this post we will cover what a priority matrix is and how to use a prioritization matrix in the context of project portfolio management.

Impact and urgency are used to assign priority. A high impact incident might not be that urgent if it is not affecting the service delivery, while a low impact incident that causes service quality decreases may be more urgent. Priority can be found by multiplying the impact score with the urgency score. The impact and urgency score of an.

What is a Priority Matrix?

A priority matrix is a tool used to categorically prioritize types of work. It has three primary strengths: simplicity, speed, and applicability to all types of work (projects and operational work). A priority matrix is easy to understand and simple to use because calculations are not required.

The most simplistic prioritization matrix has three choices, the classic low/medium/high, but some organizations may utilize “must do”, “need to do”, “should do”, and “could do” priority assignments. In the example below, we expand this much further to provide a greater range of priority categories within the must do/need to do/should do/could do paradigm (each row representing a different level of impact). We can add an urgency dimension to the priority matrix by using three columns in the matrix below (each column representing a different level of urgency). In this way, we can further segment priorities across each impact level.

If no prioritization is done in an environment with a high volume of work requests, work intake simply becomes a matter of starting projects on a first-in/first-out basis, which violates the principles of portfolio management

This is valuable when organizations need a wider range of options for categorizing projects. Remember – a priority matrix is categorical prioritization (i.e. prioritization based on the category of work) and when there are more categories of work, greater segmentation is useful.

The Eisenhower Matrix Versus the Priority Matrix

The priority matrix we are talking about is a little different than what is referred to as an Eisenhower Matrix, which is focused on task management. The Eisenhower matrix is a 2×2 matrix that also applies urgency and importance. It is designed to help people prioritize tasks in order to focus on tasks that are most important and eliminate tasks that do not add value. The Eisenhower matrix resembles the priority matrix above, but the application of the priority matrix is on project work and operational work that commonly impacts more than one person. The priority matrix enables multiple categories of work to be prioritized so that a fair comparison can be made between types of work. The Eisenhower matrix does not support this.


Clickhere for a copy of these slides and a blank prioritization matrix template.

When Should a Prioritization Matrix Be Used?

There are a few primary use cases for a priority matrix, which we will cover below:

High volume of project intake requests

Time

In environments where there is a high volume of project requests, it may not be practical to apply a scoring model to each request in order to prioritize the work. A prioritization matrix can be used to triage large volumes of project requests to focus the organization on the most important and urgent projects. I have seen this approach used in organizations that received a high volume of different sized project requests. In this case, scoring would be an over-kill; the organization needed a way to focus on the most important work at that time. If no prioritization is done in this environment, work intake simply becomes a matter of starting projects on a first-in/first-out basis, which violates the principles of portfolio management.

Where there is a high volume of project and operational requests

A related scenario occurs when there is a high volume of both project requests and operational requests. In this case, it is imperative to distinguish true project work from operational work. This happens by having clear definitions of a project so that the organization can distinguish between project and operational work. However, some operational work may still require a lot of resource effort and may in fact be more important than some project work. Again, we would never suggest applying a project scoring model to operational work, but there needs to be a way to prioritize operational work from project work. This is where the simplicity of the priority matrix shines.

In one engineering organization, various safety requests, regulatory compliance requests, and other improvement requests would come to the different engineering teams. Certain safety and compliance requests were urgent and needed attention immediately, but other compliance requests were less urgent and could be out into a general work queue. By clearly identifying which safety and compliance requests were urgent and which ones were not, operational work could be prioritized. Furthermore, we had a specific place in the priority matrix for PMO project work. This allowed an “apples to apples” comparison of project and operational work so that resource managers knew how to assign their people to work.

Impact Urgency Priority Matrix Excel Example

As a simpler alternative to prioritize work without a scoring model

Prioritization matrices are good for organizations new to the portfolio management process. Due to the simplicity, organizations can quickly get the benefit of prioritization without spending the time to do a thorough scoring of each project. Even in organizations where projects are scored and ranked, prioritization matrices can be used for “pre-screening” purposes to do a preliminary prioritization. This would be commonly used in a gated governance process before a formal business case has been developed. A governance team could quickly determine a categorical priority for the project at an early gate review.

In addition, the topic of prioritization can be highly political in some organizations. Several years ago, a CIO stated that priorities give people an excuse not to do work. There was no prioritization in that department. The saying holds true, “if everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority”. In other organizations, it goes against the culture to say ‘no’ and prioritizing work implies that work won’t get done or will get done later. In some cases, senior leaders may ask how all the work is still going to get done (in other words, if we prioritize, how will you ensure that the low priority work will still get done?). I use these examples to underscore that is not simply a method, but it affects leadership decision making and cultural work behaviors. Prioritization is also a natural part of portfolio planning. If organizations cannot say no to work requests, they don’t really have a portfolio management process and will sub-optimize business value delivery.

How Does a Priority Matrix Compare to a Scoring Model?

A prioritization matrix is simply a different approach to prioritizing work. It is not in conflict with a traditional scoring model (which we highly endorse as long you build your model correctly). In fact some companies may use both for selected use cases. The priority matrix is about categorical prioritization, prioritizing work based on the type of work request. Priority matrix software could also be used to prioritize tasks at a tactical level or help prioritize strategic related objectives; it can be used broadly . A scoring model on the other hand, takes into account multiple dimensions for evaluating project work and is used to determine relative project value. Furthermore, when evaluating multiple large projects, a scoring system will provide a more accurate analysis over a prioritization matrix.

Strengths of a priority matrix

Prioritization matrices have three primary strengths: simplicity, speed, and applicability to all types of work.

  • Prioritization matrices are easy to understand and simple to use.
  • Calculations are not required for determining the relative priority of a project.
  • It is most useful for prioritizing high volumes of work requests quickly
  • Because of its simplicity, prioritization becomes a much faster exercise and allows decision makers to quickly distinguish important projects from less important projects.
  • Various kinds of work can be prioritized using a prioritization matrix.
  • With a traditional scoring model, it is difficult to evaluate “keep the lights on” type of work, but with a prioritization matrix it is easier to compare priorities for project and non-project work.
  • It can provide a categorical ranking of projects in the portfolio

Weaknesses of a priority matrix

  • Prioritization matrices are unable to produce a discrete rank ordered list of projects in a portfolio
  • A priority matrix won’t help prioritize projects within the same category.
  • Prioritization matrices cannot do a good job of evaluating projects based on multiple criteria, and therefore cannot do a thorough job of distinguishing important projects from less important projects.

How to Build a Priority Matrix

There are a few basic steps to building a priority matrix.

  1. Determine segmentation required to categorically prioritize work. In the example shown above, there are 12 total options with 3 options for each row across the Must Do/Need To Do/Should Do/Could Do categories. There is nothing magical about a 4×3 matrix. Your organization may choose something smaller or larger.
  2. Identify the categories of work. In some instances, it is valuable to be more descriptive; break out work types into more categories as it makes sense. Example: At one engineering department, they got very prescriptive with the types of regulatory compliance requests coming in. Rather than just having a single category of regulatory compliance, it was broken out further based on the types of requests and how urgent they were.
  3. Map the categories of work to each cell of the matrix. In essence, what you are doing here is prioritizing the categories of work against each other. As you map categories of work you can compare this to other categories ranked higher and lower to determine whether the mapping fits the priority. This is an iterative exercise requiring feedback from multiple stakeholders to get approval for where each category of work maps to the matrix. This can also be a political exercise as not everyone may like how a certain category of work is assigned.
  4. Test out the priority matrix (“run water through the pipes”). Take some recent examples or project or operational work requests and map them to the priority matrix. Ask yourself whether these relative priorities feel right. Make adjustments as needed.
  5. Finalize and align with leadership. It can take a little time to get leadership alignment on the priority matrix. Based on experience, it is best to demonstrate how the priority matrix works in practice by showing some examples that the leadership team can relate to. Show them how simple the process is and how this will improve work performance.

Using a priority matrix in combination with Kanban is an excellent way to bring priorities and resource capacity together in a simplistic fashion

Priority Matrix Analysis

Percentage of Requests by Priority Category

You should conduct some level of analysis on your new priority matrix to understand its effectiveness. The simple example below shows the relative breakdown of the percentage of requests that fall into one of the four basic categories (we will see an example later where we break this down into more detail). The chart below shows us that a high percentage of requests are in the ‘Could Do’ category implying that a lot of low value work may be going on in the organization. By utilizing a priority matrix, you can get visibility of how much high-value versus low-value work is being done and start to limit the ‘Could Do’ work. In this way, you will quickly elevate the value of work being performed in the organization.

Before and After Analysis

If you are already using the basic High/Medium/Low priority designation, you can re-evaluate work using the priority matrix and then compare the results. The chart below highlights how you can evaluate priorities using the old method against the new method. In this example, the dots within the red box represent the requests that remain ‘high priority’ after using the priority matrix (note: for the purpose of analysis, items in categories 1-4 of the priority matrix were comparable to “high” priority work, items in categories 5-8 were comparable to “medium” priority work, and items 9-12 were considered “low” priority work). Several work requests that were previously marked as “high” priority actually fell lower in the priority ranking after the priority matrix was applied. In fact, one team saw a 35% decrease in high priority work items. This means the team could focus on the work that was truly most important. This highlights that a general “high”, “medium”, “low” priority evaluation were less effective than using the priority matrix, which helped the team focus on the truly high priority items.

Priority Matrix and Kanban

Finally, if you apply Kanban processes to your intake process while using the priority matrix, it can become very effective. Kanban is a simple approach to help control the flow of work by making visible all the work in progress. (For a quick overview of Kanban, I recommend a couple videos, one by Axosoft and the other by Atlassian, but please note that while this is often discussed in the context of software development, Kanban can be applied to managing many types of work). If you apply work-in-progress limits (WIP limits), then you can supercharge your intake process by fully controlling the amount of work people do without exceeding their capacity. Kanban is an excellent way to bring priorities and resource capacity together.

For organizations that see a high volume of work requests, these requests should be captured in a central location. Before starting work, a Manager can review the backlog of requests and apply the priority matrix to determine the initial priority of the work. Based on this evaluation, all work in the queue can be sequenced based on priority. Only when resources are available to begin new work will new assignments be given based on the WIP limits. This helps provide a steady stream of work without overloading the teams involved. This approach works for managing large volumes of project requests, operational requests, or a mix of both.

If you have questions about how to develop a priority matrix or need expert help, contact us today.

Tim is a project and portfolio management consultant with 14 years of experience working with the Fortune 500. He is an expert in maturity-based PPM and helps PMO Leaders build and improve their PMO to unlock more value for their company. He is one of the original PfMP’s (Portfolio Management Professionals) and a public speaker at business conferences and PMI events.

What is a priority matrix?

A priority matrix is a tool used to categorically prioritize types of work. It has three primary strengths: simplicity, speed, and applicability to all types of work (projects and operational work). A priority matrix is easy to understand and simple to use because calculations are not required.

Impact effort matrix in excel

When Should a Prioritization Matrix Be Used?

There are a few primary use cases for a priority matrix: 1) When there is a high volume of project intake requests that need to be evaluated. 2) When there is a high volume of both project requests and operational requests that utilize common resource pools. 3) For organizations new to portfolio management and need to start with a simpler mechanism for prioritizing project work.

How Does a Priority Matrix Compare to a Scoring Model?

A priority matrix is simply a different approach to prioritizing work. It is not in conflict with a traditional scoring model (which we highly endorse as long you build your model correctly). In fact some companies may use both for selected use cases. The priority matrix is about categorical prioritization, prioritizing work based on the type of work request. A scoring model takes into account multiple dimensions for evaluating project work and is used to determine relative project value. Furthermore, when evaluating multiple large projects, a scoring system will provide a more accurate analysis over a prioritization matrix.

What are the strengths of a priority matrix?

• A prioritization matrix is easy to understand and simple to use. • Calculations are not required for determining the relative priority of a project. It is most useful for prioritizing high volumes of work requests quickly • Because of its simplicity, prioritization becomes a much faster exercise and allows decision makers to quickly distinguish important projects from less important projects. • Various kinds of work can be prioritized using a prioritization matrix. • With a traditional scoring model, it is difficult to evaluate “keep the lights on” type of work, but with a prioritization matrix it is easier to compare priorities for project and non-project work. • It can provide a categorical ranking of projects in the portfolio

What is a Prioritization Matrix?

The Prioritization Matrix is a simple tool designed to compare the proposed projects or tasks, giving them all the same criteria and weighted grades. Once all of the proposals have been graded, it is easy to see which one should positively impact the company. Prioritization Matrix Template is a tool that is important because deciding which project should receive a green light to go ahead and start is hard work, with a profound impact on the company’s bottom line.
Prioritization Matrix
Many executives tasked with making these decisions rely on their experience and instincts, which don’t always lead to the most promising projects being given the go-ahead.
The Prioritization Matrix tool can also be used to decide which tasks should be prioritized if the resources are limited (time, experts, machines, etc.).

How to Create a Prioritization Matrix?

Putting together a solid matrix is a team effort and needs to get input from all stakeholders and team members. The following steps need to be taken to put a matrix together –
Step 1: Agreeing on the criteria - Which criterion will be scored and measured for each proposal
Step 2: Setting the grading values: Each criterion must receive a grade, which depicts how it aligns. For example: If the criterion is “aligns with strategic goals,” then the grades may be: “0 – not at all”, “3 – with 2 or fewer goals”, “6 – with the majority of goals”, “9 – with all of the goals.”
Step 3: Assigning weights to each criterion: Agree on which criterion has the largest impact on the company
Step 4: Create the matrix: List the criterion in the left row, their weight in the next column, and the values in the following column.
Step 5: Column wise: Add the projects from the fourth column onwards
Step 6: Calculate the grade: Multiply each criterion's weight by the grade value for each project.
Add up the grades for each project, and then list them from the highest grade to the lowest.
Priority

Task Prioritization Matrix Template

Task Priority Matrix is an approach of categorizing the tasks you have into Critical, High, Medium, and Low. The categorization helps you to address the tasks on a priority basis. This priority matrix build in excel helps you to manage your tasks and priorities.

Impact Urgency Priority Matrix Excel Template

Task Priority Matrix Template

How to Prioritize Tasks?

An alternative task prioritization method is called the “Important / Urgent” decision-making matrix. This method splits the tasks into four different quadrants, and the responsible party should complete the tasks in the top left quadrant first.
Once these are done, move to quadrant two, three, and finally to four and complete the tasks there. This method is attributed to Sir Winston Churchill and was used by him to prioritize his multiple tasks. The definition of these classifications is as follows –
Important: A task which, when completed, has a positive impact on achieving the goals (either the company’s or personal).

Urgent: A task that demands immediate attention and is more often than not associated with achieving someone else’s goals. Not completing these tasks is usually associated with immediate consequences.

Impact Urgency Priority Matrix Excel Format

  • First (Upper Left) - Important and Urgent: These are the tasks that positively impact the goals and are important to someone else. These tasks should take precedence over any others.
  • A second (Upper Right) – Important but not Urgent: These are the tasks that positively impact either the company or person's goals and should be completed after the tasks in the first quadrant are done.
  • Third (Lower Left) - Urgent but not Important: These tasks require immediate attention but do not impact our goals. These are mostly tasks that other people ask of us in the organization and are important to them.
  • Fourth (Lower Right) – Not Important and Not Urgent: These tasks usually don’t get completed (or started for that matter) since they aren’t important to anyone.

Features of the Task Priority Matrix Excel Template

  • Allows task prioritization based on four categories - Critical, High, Medium, and Low.
  • Has a backlog section that can be used to list the tasks which need to be done.
  • Task has to be created once in the backlog and then moved to the required categories by simply entering task ID.
  • Critical tasks should be done immediately, High tasks should be done ASAP, Medium and Low can wait for a bit more time.
  • The matrix highlights tasks that are not assigned in any category.
  • Duplicate tasks are highlighted in red bold in all the categories.
  • Each task has a score that can be used to signify the priority.
  • Using CTRL + Q will execute the sort, which will sort the tasks based on their scores. The higher the score higher the task is listed.

Project Priority Matrix

In an ideal world, organizations would have all the budget and resources they need to carry out all projects in their pipeline – and I would be happily rich. Unfortunately for all of us, we don’t live in an ideal world, and organizations are always constrained in the number of projects they can deliver with limited resources.
Project Prioritization Process

Why Prioritize Projects?

  • In a nutshell, in the same way, project management is all about doing projects right; portfolio management is about doing the right projects, that is, the ones that align to strategy.
  • However, most of the time, resources, not a strategy, determine what gets done and when and most organizations still rely on rudimentary approaches to select their projects, namely, “first-come-first-served,” “who-shouts-the-loudest,” the well-known “gut feel,” or even the “eeny, meeny, miny, moe.”
  • I’m certain there may be advantages in following your instinct, but, overall, not only are those emotional, biased, and subjective approaches, they also miss consistency, transparency, and alignment.
  • At the end of the day, you end up with nothing more than pet projects, fashionable projects with the word “strategic” on them, and a couple of projects that are not aligned to what you wanted to achieve in the first place.
  • Defining how to prioritize projects can be a daunting task (and you may even upset a person or two initially).
  • Fortunately, we’re here to suggest a prioritization model that you can take away and use on your own.

Features of the Project Prioritization Matrix

From the rigorous Analytical Hierarchical Process (AHP) to sophisticated PPM tools and the entertaining priority poker, there are plenty of techniques out there for portfolio prioritization. Still, perhaps the more commonly used and easy to implement and tailor is the prioritization matrix.

Project Prioritization Matrix

Identify your criteria

  • What matters to your business? Is it the return on investment? Customer satisfaction? Improving operational efficiencies? All of them?
  • Gather your senior leadership team, discuss your strategy, and agree on what criteria projects should be evaluated against.
  • As a best practice, my recommendation would be to, at least, include ‘strategic alignment’ and the 3R’s of portfolio management – risk, resources, and return.

Establish the weight of each criterion

  • If achieving cost-efficiencies is more important than protecting reputation risk, this should be made clear for all so that projects that contribute to this objective can be pursued. Others that don’t can be moved to the bottom of your list of priorities.
  • The different criteria weight should sum up 100%.

Define the rating scale of each criterion

  • Each criterion should have a scale – usually comprising 3 or 5 levels – that defines how it can range.
  • For instance, if the criteria in the analysis are “Strategic Alignment,” then the question to ask would be “to what extent is the project aligned with our strategic objectives?”, whose answers could vary from “1 – does not align”, to “2 – aligns to a minimum”, “3 – somewhat aligns”, “4 – strongly aligns”, to “5 – fully aligns”.

Priority Matrix For Mac

Score your projects against each criteria

  • Grab your list of projects, sit your Exec team, and start evaluating each project to each criterion, scoring them using the scale previously identified.
  • Some projects may be easier to score than others. Still, you will soon realize that the prioritization exercise's discussion is what matters the most to align expectations and clarify the strategy to be followed.

Calculate the project total score

  • Simply put: just do the maths. Your project total score is a sum of the scoring for each criterion x the weight of that criterion.
  • The higher the score, the higher the priority of the project. Simple, right? I told you so.

Priority Matrix Examples

Project Prioritization Matrix Example

The following example compares three proposed projects for a local private (for profit) hospital. The board can budget only one of the projects.
Prioritization Matrix Example