Anyone who's worked in product development can attest that prioritization is the key to success. About 42% of product managers say prioritization is one of the top three issues they struggle with, although, we'd argue it's closer to 99%.
Aligning multiple teams, varying stakeholders, and customer feedback on what should be built next isn't easy. Thankfully, there are quite a few frameworks available to help decide what should be tackled next.
An Impact Effort matrix is a popular framework used by software development teams. The matrix helps to prioritize work based on its importance, urgency and difficulty. Using this framework can enables teams to:
Focus on the work that will have the most impact
Understand the available resources for implementation
Identify areas where additional resources or support are needed
Teams who run prioritization exercises on a regular cadence – like monthly, quarterly, or before each Sprint – are more effective at resource allocation and projecting timelines. It's an exercise that gets more efficient with practice, so give it a try today with the Impact Effort Matrix template below!
How to use the Impact Effort Matrix
1. Establish criteria.
Identify criteria for determining the impact and/or effort of potential tasks, like time, resources, cost, or duration.
We find it helpful to document this criteria for the broader team to reference so everyone is on the same page going into the prioritization effort.
2. Add tasks to the whiteboard.
You'll want to make sure you have all the relevant tasks and potential ideas on the Whiteboard.
There are a couple ways to do this. You can either select the ClickUp+ logo from the Whiteboard toolbar and browse/search for the existing tasks you want to include, or simply copy/paste the task from a List onto the Whiteboard.
If you have new ideas or customer feedback that haven't found their way to an official task yet, just add a few stickies and type in the ideas for now – the best part about ClickUp Whiteboards is converting those ideas into tasks right then & there!
Search your Backlog list and add tasks from there!
3. Assess impact and effort level of each task.
Once all the tasks and ideas are added to the Whiteboard, you'll want to use the criteria established in Step 1 to rate each task and move it to its corresponding spot on the Whiteboard.
Use the Priority ClickApp to see the importance level visualized on the task card in Whiteboards!
This is where the bulk of the effort comes in. You'll want to include key stakeholders like design, engineering & leadership to drive alignment on what should be prioritized when, and why. Check out our detailed Blueprint for how to effectively run a prioritization workshop so you can lead that meeting with confidence & ease!
4. Prioritize tasks based on ratings & criteria.
After all of the tasks and ideas have been migrated appropriately. The next step is aligning on which high impact tasks should be tackled first and added to the roadmap (rated by effort level). And then which mid to low impact tasks should be added to the backlog for a later time, or maybe scrapped completely.
Set dependencies between tasks in ClickUp so that you can keep track of sequential work and ensure team members known which tasks are related to each other.