What Is Action Priority Matrix? [Definition & Create]

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Action Priority Matrix

Action priority matrix definition:

The Action Priority Matrix is a straightforward tool for determining which actions to prioritize and which to delegate or remove. It will permit you to get the most of the chances you have.

Choosing which task to tackle next is difficult with apparently endless to-do lists. When it comes to product managers navigating a complex product roadmap, the stakes are much higher.

We may make the most of our time and possibilities by carefully selecting activities. However, if we make poor choices, we may become bogged down in time-consuming, low-yield tasks that prevent progress.

An “Action Priority Matrix” can help in this situation

What Is the Action Priority Matrix?

We all have to-do lists for this reason. We all have different goals we’d like to achieve, whether they live on a fridge, a phone, or on our heads. Unfortunately, many of these objectives end when we run out of time and resources. And this can result in a significant case of inefficiency.

We rarely have time to finish all the jobs and projects on our wish lists, so this is helpful. When we use the matrix to choose activities wisely, we may spend more time on the high-value tasks that keep us moving forward.

Once you know the principles behind the Action Priority Matrix, you’ll probably find that you can apply it quickly and intuitively to new jobs and projects.

1. Important and Urgent

These things are the ones that should complete immediately. These chores should meet as soon as possible, as they are frequently related to the work that matters most to us.

  • Issues that need a heads up
  • Emergencies and crises
  • Deadlines
  • Scheduled meetings and appointments

2. Important but not urgent

These are the most crucial responsibilities. They are the activities that help us to achieve our goals and ambitions. Every day, they should be scheduled and worked on.

  • Working on specified projects or tasks with a specific outcome
  • Organizing and planning
  • Personal improvement
  • Preventing crises

3. Urgent but not important

These hobbies can consume a significant chunk of our time if we let them. They can often be avoided by outsourcing tasks to others or simply ignoring them.

  • Unscheduled duties every day
  • Interruptions
  • Work on maintenance
  • Regular correspondence 

4. Not urgent and not important

These are the things we allow to seep into our day. We often use them to avoid the grind of other tasks, even when they are tasks we shouldn’t be performing at all.

  • Time wasters include idle chit-chat and extended breaks.
  • Internet surfing, online socializing, messaging buddies, and personal phone calls are all unnecessary distractions.
  • Busy work, pushing papers, and other procrastination tasks are examples of trivial work.

How Does the Priority Matrix Work?

A priority matrix, also known as a prioritization matrix, is a flexible tool for identifying essential tasks and projects. A priority matrix can be a basic chart that compares urgency and importance or a complicated grid that considers various factors.

Businesses use Priority matrices for various purposes, including work delegation, ranking possible projects by importance, and ensuring project visibility by documenting the decision process.

A priority matrix prioritizes projects in four steps. Make a list of tasks first. Next, decide which criteria are most crucial to compare. Then, for each project, assign a score to each bar. Finally, reach and analyze the results obtained.

Let’s dive a little further and learn more about it!

Collect feedback from stakeholders to produce a prioritized list of projects or activities.

Limit your priority criterion to five items to make your matrix easy to use and read. Weight your standards according to how important they are to the members of your selection team.

Each item in the list assigns a numerical value to each criterion. These numbers represent the relevance of each bar; add them up to earn a score for each project.

To establish priority, compare the scores of your projects to one another. A project with a higher score is usually a more significant project, but make sure to do a gut check, and nothing seems odd.

How To Create an Action Priority Matrix?

Using a diagram to visualize goals, projects, or tasks is a terrific idea! A visual representation of a group of functions called an action priority matrix diagram can help teams focus on a project in portions. 

Examining what an action priority matrix diagram is and how to make one can assist you in making the most of this handy planning tool for your next team project. In this post, we describe an action priority matrix and, show you how to make one in five easy stages. 

Creating an action priority matrix can be an easy task when you know how to use the diagram. To make an action priority matrix, follow these five stages:

1. Set down the activities or tasks to complete.

Make a list of the tasks or activities that the group must do. An action priority matrix is for large projects or smaller, and for more focused tasks. List your duties in no particular order, working with your team to learn about any new activities that the project may require—being thorough aids in completing each exercise and producing a high-quality end product.

2. Sketch out your diagram

Create the matrix diagram once you’ve finished your list. Create a square with only two sides by connecting the X and Y axes. Label your X-axis with low and high effort, with low attempt near the intersection and high action at the other end. Next, name your Y-axis in the same way, but instead of action, use soft and high impact. Finally, draw a cross inside the diagram to divide it into four squares. From top left to bottom right, label each square as follows:

  • Quick wins
  • Major projects
  • Fill-ins
  • Thankless tasks

3. Find out what your coworkers think would assist them complete each task. 

Do they require additional time, assistance, or other resources to bring a concept to life? See if a large project or fill-in work could benefit from further input from team members to make it easier to finish.

4. Arrange your goods in the appropriate squares.

After assigning each item an effort and impact score, you can copy your list into your action priority matrix diagram. Then, you can list each item in its appropriate square based on its effort and impact scores. Items in the bottom proper square demand a lot of effort but have a small impact, whereas objects in the top left square require less effort but have a more significant effect. Everything else falls somewhere in the middle of the effort-to-impact continuum.

5. Assign tasks to group members based on their roles, and follow up to maintain momentum. By identifying particular team members, you can assign practical tasks. You can also tag project members or those who have access to a specific board or project. To realign your team, revisit the board whenever priorities change.

A clerical duty, such as backing up files, can become more important as the scope of the project changes.

How to Use an Action Priority Matrix?

Follow these steps for the Action Priority Matrix:

Step 1: Make a list of the major tasks you want or need to perform.

Step 2: Assess the impact (from 0 to 10 for the most significant effect) and the effort required (from, say, 0 for no real action to 10 for a substantial step).

Step 3: Using your scores, plot the actions on the Action Priority Matrix.

Step 4: Set suitable priorities and delegate or eliminate low-impact tasks.

Step 5: Make rapid wins your top priority.

Step 6: Use the time left over to work on your essential tasks.

The A.P.M. is a great tool to use if you need to measure the effectiveness of your up-and-coming tasks against current opportunities. It helps you better understand what jobs offer you the most chance, given your resources and time to make more informed decisions moving forward.


How do you determine the priority for action?

Prioritization is one of the most challenging components of Product Management. You could already think you know how to do it if you’ve moved from another discipline to a product or spent years in an office-based career. Prioritization in products is on a whole new level! An action priority matrix aids in determining which tasks should are essential and in what sequence. This matrix is put together with two elements.

How are scores allotted in the action priority matrix?

The Efforts of the activity (x-axis) are represented perpendicularly on the Impact/ detailing in an Action Priority Matrix (y-axis). You grade jobs using the matrix based on their impact and the effort required to perform them.

Who developed the action priority matrix?

Let’s have a look at its history. Stephen Covey, a well-known author and business leader, pioneered the action priority matrix concept. 

Covey identified the “four quadrants” in his bestselling book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

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