Impact Effort Matrix

A decision-making tool that allows users to categorize ideas.

The Impact Effort Matrix is a 2 x 2 grid that helps you assess solutions for their relative impact given the effort required. It provides a quick way to filter out solutions that might not be worth the effort. The best solutions are in the upper right quadrant, easy to implement but with substantial impact.

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What's it about?

The Impact Effort Matrix (also called the Action Priority Matrix) is a decision-making exercise allowing its users to categorize ideas according to the effort needed and the potential impact. The Impact Effort Matrix helps to sort out project ideas, actions and activities to get to a good decision in our increasingly busy lives at work and at home. The four sections of the matrix are:

QUICK WINS (HIGH IMPACT, LOW EFFORT)

These are the most attractive ideas/projects, giving you a good return for relatively little effort.

 MAJOR PROJECTS (HIGH IMPACT, HIGH EFFORT)

 While these give good returns, they take a long time to complete and can be complex to execute.

 WAIT (LOW IMPACT, LOW EFFORT)

 Don’t worry too much about doing these – if you’ve got spare time, do them.

 DON’T DO (LOW IMPACT, HIGH EFFORT)

 Avoid these. Not only do they give low returns, they crowd out time which would be better used elsewhere.

 

Who made it?

Dave Gray

Design Thinker Dave Gray works with senior leaders to help them design more flexible, innovative organizations. His passion is to create real, sustainable change in complex social systems. He helps groups work together to visualize complex challenges, making them easier to see, share and solve, so they can move their ideas and organizations forward. Dave has authored two books on designing change and innovation. His first book, Gamestorming, is a practical handbook for innovators and change agents. His second book, The Connected Company, is a strategic blueprint and roadmap for businesses who want to innovate and lead in the next century. Dave is the founder of XPLANE, the visual thinking company, which was acquired by the Dachis Group in 2010. Dave is also a founding member of Viz Think, an international community of Visual Thinkers, and serves on several advisory boards.

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