Introduction:

Figuring out your priorities is a complicated problem, and a prioritization matrix can help to streamline the decision-making process.

This template is an actionable checklist for setting up and using a prioritization matrix to get your priorities in order.

We created this template to guide you through each step of the process, from choosing your options to reviewing the finished matrix.

This method works for any kind of prioritization; tasks, projects, solutions.

It can also be used by anyone, from individuals to large organizations.

At the end of this process you'll have a simple yet effective 2x2 matrix, and will have grouped your options into four separate categories of importance.

If you're interested in learning about more advanced methods like using weighted criteria to influence your results, check out our prioritization matrix article.

If you're ready to get started, go ahead and proceed with the checklist.

Preparation:

Record basic information

Before you begin, record some basic information that can be used to identify and categorize the results of this checklist.

It'll be useful in future if you're viewing reports.

Record the details in the form fields below.

In the forms below, record the person responsible for leading the prioritization matrix effort.

Matrix approval

Your final matrix will need to be approved by the relevant personnel. Fill in the details of the individual to approve your matrix below.

Record participants

If you're an organization or team using the prioritization matrix, record the names of everyone involved as well as contact details.

Do not include the team lead in this list, since they've already been recorded in the previous task.

If you need to add more fields, simply edit the template.





List your options

Make a list of each of your options.

I'm using "options" to refer to whatever you're trying to prioritize; it could be tasks, projects, product features, or whatever you want to figure out how to prioritize.

This template has eight fields for you to record three separate priorities, but of course you might want to add or remove fields to suit your need. If that's the case, simply edit this template

Evaluating your options:

Determine consequences

Using the form fields below, record the consequences you predict you will have to deal with, should certain options not be prioritized.

Determine benefits

In the form fields below, record the benefits you expect to gain from prioritizing certain options.

Decide what's most important

Consequences

Option 1 ({{form.Option_#1}}): {{form.Option_#1_consequences}}

Option 2 ({{form.Option_#2}}): {{form.Option_#2_consequences}}

Option 3 ({{form.Option_#3}}): {{form.Option_#3_consequences}}

Option 4 ({{form.Option_#4}}): {{form.Option_#4_consequences}}

Option 5 ({{form.Option_#5}}): {{form.Option_#5_consequences}}

Option 6 ({{form.Option_#6}}): {{form.Option_#6_consequences}}

Option 7 ({{form.Option_#7}}): {{form.Option_#7_consequences}}

Option 8 ({{form.Option_#8}}): {{form.Option_#8_consequences}}

Benefits

Option 1 ({{form.Option_#1}}): {{form.Option_#1_benefits}}

Option 2 ({{form.Option_#2}}): {{form.Option_#2_benefits}}

Option 3 ({{form.Option_#3}}): {{form.Option_#3_benefits}}

Option 4 ({{form.Option_#4}}): {{form.Option_#4_benefits}}

Option 5 ({{form.Option_#5}}): {{form.Option_#5_benefits}}

Option 6 ({{form.Option_#6}}): {{form.Option_#6_benefits}}

Option 7 ({{form.Option_#7}}): {{form.Option_#7_benefits}}

Option 8 ({{form.Option_#8}}): {{form.Option_#8_benefits}}


Assessing benefits and consequences, decide whether each option fits into the category of "high" or "low" importance.

Record your decision by selecting options from the multi-select field below. 

Make sure not to select the same option twice.

  • 1
    Option #1
  • 2
    Option #2
  • 3
    Option #3
  • 4
    Option #4
  • 5
    Option #5
  • 6
    Option #6
  • 7
    Option #7
  • 8
    Option #8
  • 1
    Option #1
  • 2
    Option #2
  • 3
    Option #3
  • 4
    Option #4
  • 5
    Option #5
  • 6
    Option #6
  • 7
    Option #7
  • 8
    Option #8

Decide what's most urgent

Consequences

Option 1 ({{form.Option_#1}}): {{form.Option_#1_consequences}}

Option 2 ({{form.Option_#2}}): {{form.Option_#2_consequences}}

Option 3 ({{form.Option_#3}}): {{form.Option_#3_consequences}}

Option 4 ({{form.Option_#4}}): {{form.Option_#4_consequences}}

Option 5 ({{form.Option_#5}}): {{form.Option_#5_consequences}}

Option 6 ({{form.Option_#6}}): {{form.Option_#6_consequences}}

Option 7 ({{form.Option_#7}}): {{form.Option_#7_consequences}}

Option 8 ({{form.Option_#8}}): {{form.Option_#8_consequences}}

Benefits

Option 1 ({{form.Option_#1}}): {{form.Option_#1_benefits}}

Option 2 ({{form.Option_#2}}): {{form.Option_#2_benefits}}

Option 3 ({{form.Option_#3}}): {{form.Option_#3_benefits}}

Option 4 ({{form.Option_#4}}): {{form.Option_#4_benefits}}

Option 5 ({{form.Option_#5}}): {{form.Option_#5_benefits}}

Option 6 ({{form.Option_#6}}): {{form.Option_#6_benefits}}

Option 7 ({{form.Option_#7}}): {{form.Option_#7_benefits}}

Option 8 ({{form.Option_#8}}): {{form.Option_#8_benefits}}


High importance options

{{form.High_importance}}

Low importance options

{{form.Low_importance}}


Now, figure out what is most urgent, and record your decision in the multi-select fields below, just like you did in the last task.

Each option will be placed into either "high urgency" or "low urgency" groupings.

Again, don't select the same option twice, as this defeats the purpose of the prioritization matrix.

  • 1
    Option #1
  • 2
    Option #2
  • 3
    Option #3
  • 4
    Option #4
  • 5
    Option #5
  • 6
    Option #6
  • 7
    Option #7
  • 8
    Option #8
  • 1
    Option #1
  • 2
    Option #2
  • 3
    Option #3
  • 4
    Option #4
  • 5
    Option #5
  • 6
    Option #6
  • 7
    Option #7
  • 8
    Option #8

Cross-compare each result

High importance

{{form.High_importance}}

High urgency

{{form.High_urgency}}

Low importance

{{form.Low_importance}}

Low urgency

{{form.Low_urgency}}


Looking at the results above, record which options are cross-matched between different categories using the multi-select fields below.

  • 1
    Option #1
  • 2
    Option #2
  • 3
    Option #3
  • 4
    Option #4
  • 5
    Option #5
  • 6
    Option #6
  • 7
    Option #7
  • 8
    Option #8
  • 1
    Option #1
  • 2
    Option #2
  • 3
    Option #3
  • 4
    Option #4
  • 5
    Option #5
  • 6
    Option #6
  • 7
    Option #7
  • 8
    Option #8
  • 1
    Option #1
  • 2
    Option #2
  • 3
    Option #3
  • 4
    Option #4
  • 5
    Option #5
  • 6
    Option #6
  • 7
    Option #7
  • 8
    Option #8
  • 1
    Option #1
  • 2
    Option #2
  • 3
    Option #3
  • 4
    Option #4
  • 5
    Option #5
  • 6
    Option #6
  • 7
    Option #7
  • 8
    Option #8

Results:

View your completed matrix

Your completed matrix needs to be approved by the relevant personnel in your team for the completion of this template.

1. Do now:

{{form.High_importance_&_high_urgency}}

2. Do next:

{{form.High_importance_&_low_urgency}}

3. Do last:

{{form.Low_importance_&_high_urgency}}

4. Do never:

{{form.Low_importance_&_low_urgency}}


Above are your results, based on the grouping shown in the matrix below.

This quick, simple method can help you cut through mental noise and start getting things done.

If you want to know how to apply a more advanced prioritization matrix, then check out our article here.

Approval:

Will be submitted for approval:
  • View your completed matrix
    Will be submitted

Consult with your team

If you're doing this with a team, then you should have multiple priority matrices you can compare and contrast together to produce a master list of priorities.

Remember, a prioritization matrix is just a tool to help you get things done, and the results can and should be challenged.

Expect to discuss and justify with your team why certain priorities placed in your list, and use the matrix as a kind of evidence to support your argument.

In any case, consult with your team and reach an agreement before moving forward to the next step, which focusing on getting your new priorities done.

Sources:

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