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Cracking The Impact-Effort (Value) Prioritization Matrix Secret

Do you want a quick way to find low-hanging fruits in your project? Find out how to identify and prioritize these tasks with a free professional template.

What Is the Impact-Effort Matrix

Impact-Effort (or Value-Effort, or Value-Complexity) matrix is a lean prioritization tool that helps you visually divide the backlog into four parts depending on the task ROI:

  • Quick Wins that provide maximum benefits with low efforts required.
  • Major Projects that provide long-term returns but require more investments.
  • Fill-Ins that are cheap to implement but don’t give much in return.
  • Time-Sinks that require a lot of investments and provide minimal benefits.

Who Can Use the Impact-Effort Matrix?

Anybody can use the Impact-Effort matrix to prioritize anything from personal to-dos to complex business projects to maximize productivity.

How To Use the Impact-Effort Matrix Template

1. Prepare a list of tasks to prioritize

Decide on the backlog scope requiring prioritization. Get the tasks into the template by:

  1. Importing from a task tracker
  2. Importing from a spreadsheet
  3. Creating new tasks in the template

2. Evaluate by the whole team

Each task must be estimated from 0 to 3 by two criteria: Impact and Effort. Best when evaluated by every member of the project.

  • Impact — How big is the value for the main business objective?
    0 — no impact
    1 — low
    2 — medium
    3 — high
  • Effort — How many resources will the implementation require?
    0 — no real efforts
    1 — low
    2 — medium
    3 — high

3. Discuss the priorities

After evaluation, all the tasks will be placed into the four quadrants according to the scores they got:

  • Quick Wins — high impact and low effort.
  • Major Projects — high impact and high effort.
  • Fill-Ins — low impact and low effort.
  • Thankless Tasks — low impact and high effort.

Discuss with the team whether you all agree with the priorities you got. Don’t take the results into work unquestioningly.

Updated on August 30, 2022

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