Spend time on what matters most.

This Effort vs Impact matrix (also called the Action Priority matrix) is a team decision making tool that allows people to more effectively manage their time. This quick but effective task management technique shows you if people are heading in the same direction.

Each person adds and positions tasks based on the level of effort required and the anticipated benefit. The results are then combined to see if people agree on what are the most attractive and important action items.

GroupMap shows you if people agree on the priorities so you can manage any issues early on and focus on the things that really matter.

What is the Effort vs Impact Matrix?

Originally introduced as the management matrix by Stephen Covey in his book, First Things First, this activity helps teams prioritise tasks from major projects to quick wins. This tool is often used as part of the Lean Six Sigma practice to maximise team productivity. Using this variation of the Eisenhower matrix, items are ranked against :

  • Level of Effort – How much time, money, resources and capacity will be needed to achieve the desired outcome.
  • Level of Impact – How much value or impact the outcomes will have on the business or project.

This creates tasks that can be categorised into:

  • Quick wins – Activities that give the best return based on the effort. Focus on these!
  • Major projects – Long term returns but may be more complex to execute. Plan and execute efficiently.
  • Fill ins – Do these activities when there is excess capacity. Keep these on the back burner.
  • Thankless tasks – Time-consuming tasks with low impact. Avoid, delegate or defer.

Running an Effort vs Impact Exercise

  • Step 1 – Select the Effort vs Impact matrix. This uses a perceptual map template which lets people place projects relative to each other. you can also use a 2 x 2 matrix option. Customise and  add your own instructions then invite your team in by password, link or email via laptop, PC, Mac or tablet.
  • Step 2 – Ask everyone to add current projects and activities or you can add these onto the map before hand. Ask them to position them initially based on what level of effort and impact they perceive.
  • Step 3 – Discuss the current position of all projects and capture any comments. Ask people to discuss their reasons for ranking. Talk through the issues, especially where there are significant differences in placement.
  • Step 4 – Based on discussions, people can re-prioritise projects. As an option you can use the ratings stage to ask people to confirm their level of agreement for the final group placement.
  • Step 5 – The final results will show the prioritized projects. Export the reports as evidence of the process.

Think better together