Importance Difficulty Matrix
Design Thinking Project Management Agile
January 10, 2023 - Jon A.

Understanding the “Importance Difficulty Matrix”

The Importance/Difficulty Matrix is used for plotting tasks in a given project (or projects in a given company) according to their relative Significance and Difficulty.

A straightforward matrix is a valuable tool for determining which priorities should be executed when they all seem to have equal importance. You are specifically equipped to resolve conflicts between these competing forces by positioning Significance on the x-axis and Difficulty on the y-axis. Both are arranged from low to high. You and your staff will probably devise a viable solution if you plot objects based on both priorities.

In this post, we look to establish an understanding of the Importance/Difficulty Matrix used in agile/design thinking by briefly going through the vital steps involved in the process.

How Importance/Difficulty Matrix Helps to Prioritize Items

When a team starts a new project, ideas frequently flow freely, often resulting in a long list of seemingly equal important features and tasks. Thus, strategic prioritization is important for the success of the project. You can accomplish this using various design thinking techniques, such as a Importance/Difficulty Matrix.

How do you order your priorities? Assess their viability after ranking them in order of Significance. Importance/Difficulty Matrix’s straightforward features and visual layout make it easy for teams to collaborate face-to-face or virtually as you compare your information in the matrix. The Difficulty is represented by the vertical axis, while the horizontal axis shows importance. Once the features or tasks are plotted, it will be easy to evaluate your priorities and make a plan of action.

importance difficulty matrix

Listing Your Items

You need a list of things to prioritize before you can use the Importance/Difficulty Matrix. It can be utilized for various situations, including goal-setting and holiday planning, and performs best with 7–10 items.

Arrange by Order of Importance

Place the goals in a straight line, placing the most crucial ones on the right and the least essential ones on the left. You are only comparing how significant these items are to one another, so don’t stress how much more important they are.

Arrange by Difficulty

Then, repeat the process, but this time, sort them according to Difficulty. Please keep them in the order of priority. Move everything else up if it belongs at the bottom. Move other items around to make room if it should be between two different things.

Separate Into Quadrants

Divide the chart into four equal halves, but use mathematics. Determine the number of things that make up half of your total, and then draw a vertical line so that half is on the left and half is on the right. Place a horizontal line next, with half on top and half at the bottom.

Evaluate Items for Importance/Difficulty Placement

It is where the Eisenhower Matrix and the Importance/Difficulty Matrix diverge significantly. With this tool, you start comparing the items to one another in relevance and complexity rather than deciding where they should go. Quantitatively split it after that. No judgments are required!

To sum it up

The Importance/Difficulty Matrix aids in the current organization of your project priorities. When you reassess in a few weeks or months, those Luxury items might move up the list while others might move down. Hopefully, this was useful. One of the preferred methods for prioritizing tasks is the Importance/Difficulty Matrix, so we’d be glad if you found it helpful.


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