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Prioritization Matrix: How to understand it

The Quality ToolbookPrioritization Matrix > How to understand it

When to use it | How to understand it | Example | How to do it | Practical variations


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How to understand it

Deciding what is really important from a list of issues can be very difficult, especially if there is no objective data available and the people involved have a difference of opinion about which should be acted upon first. For example, when customers are asking for a list of product enhancements, how do you decide which to implement?

The Prioritization Matrix provides a way of sorting a diverse set of items into an order of importance. It also enables their relative importance to be identified by deriving a numerical value of the importance of each item. Thus an item with a score of 223 is clearly far more important than one with a score of 23, but is not much more important than one with a score of 219.

In order that the items can be compared with one another in this way, each item is scored against each of a set of key criteria, and the scores for each item are then summed. For example, a potential solution of 'Use high grade materials' will get a high score on the criterion of, 'Low cost of maintenance', but will get low score on 'Low cost of materials'.

A good criterion reflects key goals and enables objective measurements to be made. Thus 'material cost' is measurable and reflects a business profit goal, whilst 'simplicity' may not reflect any goals and be difficult to score.

When there are multiple criteria, it may also be important to take into account the fact that some criteria are more important than others. This can be implemented by allocating weighting values to each criteria, as Fig 1, below.



Fig. 1. Weighting of priorities




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