In product development, in particular, numerous ideas and improvements arise during the development process that should be carefully considered and prioritized. Not infrequently, if the ideas are not classified, a blurred picture of the final product arises, which incorrectly ties up important development resources. In this text, we show how a simple but very effective classification of the projects can be achieved with the help of the Impact-Effort-Matrix.
What is needed:
- Rectangular post-its, we like yellow
- Sharpies (for insiders the term for suitable pens for writing on post-its) or, to put it simply, thick pens for writing
- A large sheet of paper (A1 or even better A0) or a whiteboard
- Create the matrix and prepare items
The Impact Effort Matrix is exciting and, at the same time, a simple instrument for prioritizing tasks, development tickets, or milestones during product development. As the name suggests, it is a 2 by 2 matrix with the axes of effort and influence. To be able to start, you should draw the basic grid of the matrix on a large sheet of paper or whiteboard and indicate the quarter division by central axes.
In the meantime, all items to be prioritized should be written on individual post-its so that the solution ideas can then be evaluated individually.
Evaluate the items in a team
Ideally, the features are arranged in a joint team within this matrix. This should be discussed but within the framework of the given categories. A team member should take an item and first move it on the horizontal axis until the team has unanimously decided on the effort. Now it’s the turn of the vertical axis and thus the influence of the respective item. Here, too, the team member moves the map until the correct position for the item is reached. This whole procedure is carried out with all available cards.
We look for high impact and little effort
As soon as all items are arranged in the matrix, a certain picture emerges within the matrix. It is obvious and expedient to take a closer look at the area of high influence, low effort relatively quickly. All items that are located here should be given a high priority and quickly implemented or validated.
Finally, all solution ideas in the area of high influence, the low effort can be marked with a point so that they can be quickly recognized when used later.
The impact-effort matrix is a good method to quickly and easily derive a prioritization of the upcoming product features. The approach helps especially in a team to build a common understanding of the coming development steps.