Priority Matrix is a productivity tool for Outlook and Microsoft Teams that helps teams manage, prioritize, and focus on high-impact tasks. Customers save 100 hours per person per year using Priority Matrix to help them have more effective meetings, better prioritize emails, and create team alignment across the entire organization. A priority matrix is a technique in IT service management (ITSM) that can be used to determine the priority of one task over others. As the title suggests, it uses a matrix to determine the priority that contains pre-defined values for two different characteristics, with one on each axis of the matrix. At its most basic level, a Project Priority Matrix is a tool to help business leaders work out what the key priorities for a specific project should be. The tool can also be used to prioritize and select from multiple projects in order to prioritize and select which project among many should be pursued first. Priority Matrix is a FREE full featured project management software that works on all platforms, and integrates deeply into Outlook and Microsoft Teams. Priority Matrix for Outlook is a free add-on that lets you manage tasks, projects, and emails without leaving Outlook. Priority Matrix is a cloud-based project management platform that helps project managers prioritize projects and tasks and enables them to achieve visibility and accountability across different projects.

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Focus on top priorities and projects. Priority Matrix creates a central source of truth to coordinate all the work your team needs to do.

Focus on top priorities and projects. Prioritize tasks, projects & email in one place.

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Based on the Eisenhower method framework, Priority Matrix is a full featured project management software that helps teams prioritize and focus on what matters most.

Thousands of Customers Trust Priority Matrix to Better Manage Priorities
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saves thousands of hours pear year using Priority Matrix and Office 365
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Priority Matrix gives you everything you need to for priority, task, and project management to achieve transparency, accountability, traceability, and efficiency.

Accountability

Your team is more accountable when everyone’s aligned on key tasks. Their priorities are transparent and clear with Priority Matrix.

Priority
Visibility

With Priority Matrix’s 4-quadrants framework, you can track dozens of projects and hundreds of tasks with ease. You get best in class tracking of priorities.

Priority Matrix Software
Responsibility

You get peace of mind that everyone is doing things right, and doing the right things. Priority Matrix saves 2.5 weeks per person per year in productivity.

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Priority Management

    • PRIORITIZATION CENTRIC

      – Understand and communicate to everyone what tasks are critical, and what are not.

    • SEE THE BIG PICTURE

      – Use the master list for a broad overview of all your projects and progress or get an instant snapshot of project progress by looking at the project squares.

    • QUICKLY IDENTIFY FOCAL POINTS

      – visually categorize your tasks using icons and stars to rapidly identify the types of tasks you have at hand and to distinguish your most important tasks.
Visibility

    • NEVER LOSE A TASK AGAIN

      – filter by collaborators to easily see who’s working on what at any given time. Use tags, filters, sort, and search to never lose track of a task again

    • ACCURATE REPORTS

      – get instant, accurate daily, weekly, or time specific reports to track the status of your team and projects. Easily generate individual teammate’s reports for comprehensive performance reviews.

    • ALWAYS KNOW WHAT’S HAPPENING

      – use the real time item & project history streams to keep up to date. See conversations and progress for each individual task or for entire projects.
Collaboration

    • INDIVIDUALIZED PROJECT ACCESS

      – add teammates to build your dreamteam for any project. Easily work with collaborators without a Priority Matrix account through their own email client.

    • ALLOCATE RESPONSIBILITIES

      – sharing responsibilities has never been easier. Assign tasks to a point person, or add several followers to a task to keep them up to date.

    • COMMUNICATE EASILY

      – keeping everyone up to date is a breeze with an inapp chat and indepth history. Chat through the app or simply reply to project or item progress emails to contribute to the conversation.
organization

    • KEEP TRACK OF ALL THE DETAILS

      – add icons, notes, dates, progress, files, effort estimates, and more to keep track of all the little things effortlessly. Sort by these criterias to see tasks that are closest to being done or tasks that require the most effort.

Priority Matrix Review


    • SHARE & MANAGE FILES EASILY

      – drag files to your desired project to upload and organize your files. Add due dates, notes, and more to each file- if you have a document deadline, simply upload, date, and assign to ensure timely delivery.

    • SYNC ACROSS DEVICES

      – Whether you prefer to work off of your mac, windows, iphone, ipad, or android, we’ve got you covered. Sync seamlessly so you can focus on the important stuff and never worry about losing or forgetting your tasks again.
Integrations

    • OFFICE 365

      – Handle important Outlook emails, manage complex projects, conduct efficient Teams conversations, all while reducing context switching.

    • OUTLOOK 365

      – Create tasks from emails, attach emails to existing action items, as well as set due dates, priorities, reminders, and delegate emails all within Outlook.

    • MICROSOFT TEAMS

      – Manage projects directly inside Teams, get reminders through the chatbot, use the Messaging Extension to send action-cards, and conduct one-on-one meetings inside Teams.
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Share priorities intelligently so you can focus on the bigger vision. We help companies gain more transparency, accountability, traceability, and efficiency.

Security

Priority Matrix is the single most used application because of its power and flexibility to both organize and track large volumes of activities and tasks. It has powerful functionality in a simple package that actually reduces the effort required, and unlike other applications, doesn’t require tedious interaction that takes away from actual execution. I love the fact that all tasks put into using PM can easily be communicated and shared with colleagues and clients through a variety of flexible methods. It’s effective all the way through.

Terry Gold, Founder, IDanalyst

Software services

We use Priority Matrix on a daily basis. As a small and quickly growing company, our team members are wearing many hats and often pulled in several different directions. Shared projects bring transparency to everyone’s weekly priorities and have eliminated the “last in, first priority” issue with emails. Personal projects help us break down day-to-day tasks, so we’re always focusing on only the most important goals for the day.

Adam Peterson, CEO, Vipecloud

Education

A very useful tool for team meetings when we discuss progress on tasks – the ability for anyone in the team to update and sync with all others in real time, is great. I use it to generate quarterly performance reports to the senior exec and the evidence of tasks completed is also used in performance management discussions with individual members of the team. It’s a more elegant and efficient way to manage work flows.

Steven Newman, Planning Manager, Edith Cowan University

Focus on What Truly Matters

Conquer your most important day-to-day commitments while keeping your high-level goals in mind with a thousand ways to use Priority Matrix

FIRES

these are issues you have to DO NOW!

  • catastrophes
  • deadlines
  • emergencies

These hard-to-plan-for tasks are often unexpected and need to be dealt with as soon as possible. Don’t worry though, you’ve got this.

PRIORITIZE

put the things that you should be working on here

  • preparations
  • relationships
  • development

These tasks are required for company growth. Spend most of your time here proactively.

REDUCE

let these take the backburner, or delegate them out

  • interruptions
  • (most) emails
  • (many) meetings

These small interruptions cause large rifts in your productivity. Spend less time here and delegate them out using Priority Matrix.

REPOSITORY

put every other tasks or ideas here first

  • ideas
  • brainstorm
  • low priority items

Don’t let LIFO (last in, first out) stifle your productivity. Use this quadrant to track your ideas, and when the time is right, move them into the proper buckets.



WORK OFFLINE Whether you’re in your office or in the field, local storage and caches lets you work anytime, anywhere.


FLEXIBLE STORAGE Store your information on your own hard drive for local access or in the cloud for full access using any device.


LIGHTNING FAST
As a true native app, Priority Matrix is more responsive and higher performing than any web app.


NATIVE ADVANTAGE Use the app’s native capabilities and take advantage of the right-click context menu and the in-depth menu bar.


DEEP INTEGRATION Integrate better with system features and functionality like calendar, notifications, camera, and much more.


TRUSTED SECURITY Cloud data is encrypted in transit and at rest at secure U.S. based locations.
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In Project Portfolio Management (PPM), PPM 101
Priority Matrix Software

In this post we will cover what a priority matrix is and how to use a prioritization matrix in the context of project portfolio management.

Priority matrix software free

What is a Priority Matrix?

A priority matrix is a tool used to categorically prioritize types of work. It has three primary strengths: simplicity, speed, and applicability to all types of work (projects and operational work). A priority matrix is easy to understand and simple to use because calculations are not required.

The most simplistic prioritization matrix has three choices, the classic low/medium/high, but some organizations may utilize “must do”, “need to do”, “should do”, and “could do” priority assignments. In the example below, we expand this much further to provide a greater range of priority categories within the must do/need to do/should do/could do paradigm (each row representing a different level of impact). We can add an urgency dimension to the priority matrix by using three columns in the matrix below (each column representing a different level of urgency). In this way, we can further segment priorities across each impact level.

If no prioritization is done in an environment with a high volume of work requests, work intake simply becomes a matter of starting projects on a first-in/first-out basis, which violates the principles of portfolio management

This is valuable when organizations need a wider range of options for categorizing projects. Remember – a priority matrix is categorical prioritization (i.e. prioritization based on the category of work) and when there are more categories of work, greater segmentation is useful.

The Eisenhower Matrix Versus the Priority Matrix

The priority matrix we are talking about is a little different than what is referred to as an Eisenhower Matrix, which is focused on task management. The Eisenhower matrix is a 2×2 matrix that also applies urgency and importance. It is designed to help people prioritize tasks in order to focus on tasks that are most important and eliminate tasks that do not add value. The Eisenhower matrix resembles the priority matrix above, but the application of the priority matrix is on project work and operational work that commonly impacts more than one person. The priority matrix enables multiple categories of work to be prioritized so that a fair comparison can be made between types of work. The Eisenhower matrix does not support this.


Clickhere for a copy of these slides and a blank prioritization matrix template.

When Should a Prioritization Matrix Be Used?

There are a few primary use cases for a priority matrix, which we will cover below:

High volume of project intake requests

In environments where there is a high volume of project requests, it may not be practical to apply a scoring model to each request in order to prioritize the work. A prioritization matrix can be used to triage large volumes of project requests to focus the organization on the most important and urgent projects. I have seen this approach used in organizations that received a high volume of different sized project requests. In this case, scoring would be an over-kill; the organization needed a way to focus on the most important work at that time. If no prioritization is done in this environment, work intake simply becomes a matter of starting projects on a first-in/first-out basis, which violates the principles of portfolio management.

Where there is a high volume of project and operational requests

A related scenario occurs when there is a high volume of both project requests and operational requests. In this case, it is imperative to distinguish true project work from operational work. This happens by having clear definitions of a project so that the organization can distinguish between project and operational work. However, some operational work may still require a lot of resource effort and may in fact be more important than some project work. Again, we would never suggest applying a project scoring model to operational work, but there needs to be a way to prioritize operational work from project work. This is where the simplicity of the priority matrix shines.

Priority Matrix Software Definition

In one engineering organization, various safety requests, regulatory compliance requests, and other improvement requests would come to the different engineering teams. Certain safety and compliance requests were urgent and needed attention immediately, but other compliance requests were less urgent and could be out into a general work queue. By clearly identifying which safety and compliance requests were urgent and which ones were not, operational work could be prioritized. Furthermore, we had a specific place in the priority matrix for PMO project work. This allowed an “apples to apples” comparison of project and operational work so that resource managers knew how to assign their people to work.

As a simpler alternative to prioritize work without a scoring model

Prioritization matrices are good for organizations new to the portfolio management process. Due to the simplicity, organizations can quickly get the benefit of prioritization without spending the time to do a thorough scoring of each project. Even in organizations where projects are scored and ranked, prioritization matrices can be used for “pre-screening” purposes to do a preliminary prioritization. This would be commonly used in a gated governance process before a formal business case has been developed. A governance team could quickly determine a categorical priority for the project at an early gate review.

In addition, the topic of prioritization can be highly political in some organizations. Several years ago, a CIO stated that priorities give people an excuse not to do work. There was no prioritization in that department. The saying holds true, “if everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority”. In other organizations, it goes against the culture to say ‘no’ and prioritizing work implies that work won’t get done or will get done later. In some cases, senior leaders may ask how all the work is still going to get done (in other words, if we prioritize, how will you ensure that the low priority work will still get done?). I use these examples to underscore that is not simply a method, but it affects leadership decision making and cultural work behaviors. Prioritization is also a natural part of portfolio planning. If organizations cannot say no to work requests, they don’t really have a portfolio management process and will sub-optimize business value delivery.

How Does a Priority Matrix Compare to a Scoring Model?

A prioritization matrix is simply a different approach to prioritizing work. It is not in conflict with a traditional scoring model (which we highly endorse as long you build your model correctly). In fact some companies may use both for selected use cases. The priority matrix is about categorical prioritization, prioritizing work based on the type of work request. Priority matrix software could also be used to prioritize tasks at a tactical level or help prioritize strategic related objectives; it can be used broadly . A scoring model on the other hand, takes into account multiple dimensions for evaluating project work and is used to determine relative project value. Furthermore, when evaluating multiple large projects, a scoring system will provide a more accurate analysis over a prioritization matrix.

Strengths of a priority matrix

Prioritization matrices have three primary strengths: simplicity, speed, and applicability to all types of work.

  • Prioritization matrices are easy to understand and simple to use.
  • Calculations are not required for determining the relative priority of a project.
  • It is most useful for prioritizing high volumes of work requests quickly
  • Because of its simplicity, prioritization becomes a much faster exercise and allows decision makers to quickly distinguish important projects from less important projects.
  • Various kinds of work can be prioritized using a prioritization matrix.
  • With a traditional scoring model, it is difficult to evaluate “keep the lights on” type of work, but with a prioritization matrix it is easier to compare priorities for project and non-project work.
  • It can provide a categorical ranking of projects in the portfolio

Weaknesses of a priority matrix

  • Prioritization matrices are unable to produce a discrete rank ordered list of projects in a portfolio
  • A priority matrix won’t help prioritize projects within the same category.
  • Prioritization matrices cannot do a good job of evaluating projects based on multiple criteria, and therefore cannot do a thorough job of distinguishing important projects from less important projects.

How to Build a Priority Matrix

There are a few basic steps to building a priority matrix.

  1. Determine segmentation required to categorically prioritize work. In the example shown above, there are 12 total options with 3 options for each row across the Must Do/Need To Do/Should Do/Could Do categories. There is nothing magical about a 4×3 matrix. Your organization may choose something smaller or larger.
  2. Identify the categories of work. In some instances, it is valuable to be more descriptive; break out work types into more categories as it makes sense. Example: At one engineering department, they got very prescriptive with the types of regulatory compliance requests coming in. Rather than just having a single category of regulatory compliance, it was broken out further based on the types of requests and how urgent they were.
  3. Map the categories of work to each cell of the matrix. In essence, what you are doing here is prioritizing the categories of work against each other. As you map categories of work you can compare this to other categories ranked higher and lower to determine whether the mapping fits the priority. This is an iterative exercise requiring feedback from multiple stakeholders to get approval for where each category of work maps to the matrix. This can also be a political exercise as not everyone may like how a certain category of work is assigned.
  4. Test out the priority matrix (“run water through the pipes”). Take some recent examples or project or operational work requests and map them to the priority matrix. Ask yourself whether these relative priorities feel right. Make adjustments as needed.
  5. Finalize and align with leadership. It can take a little time to get leadership alignment on the priority matrix. Based on experience, it is best to demonstrate how the priority matrix works in practice by showing some examples that the leadership team can relate to. Show them how simple the process is and how this will improve work performance.

Using a priority matrix in combination with Kanban is an excellent way to bring priorities and resource capacity together in a simplistic fashion

Priority Matrix Analysis

Percentage of Requests by Priority Category

You should conduct some level of analysis on your new priority matrix to understand its effectiveness. The simple example below shows the relative breakdown of the percentage of requests that fall into one of the four basic categories (we will see an example later where we break this down into more detail). The chart below shows us that a high percentage of requests are in the ‘Could Do’ category implying that a lot of low value work may be going on in the organization. By utilizing a priority matrix, you can get visibility of how much high-value versus low-value work is being done and start to limit the ‘Could Do’ work. In this way, you will quickly elevate the value of work being performed in the organization.

Before and After Analysis

If you are already using the basic High/Medium/Low priority designation, you can re-evaluate work using the priority matrix and then compare the results. The chart below highlights how you can evaluate priorities using the old method against the new method. In this example, the dots within the red box represent the requests that remain ‘high priority’ after using the priority matrix (note: for the purpose of analysis, items in categories 1-4 of the priority matrix were comparable to “high” priority work, items in categories 5-8 were comparable to “medium” priority work, and items 9-12 were considered “low” priority work). Several work requests that were previously marked as “high” priority actually fell lower in the priority ranking after the priority matrix was applied. In fact, one team saw a 35% decrease in high priority work items. This means the team could focus on the work that was truly most important. This highlights that a general “high”, “medium”, “low” priority evaluation were less effective than using the priority matrix, which helped the team focus on the truly high priority items.

Priority Matrix and Kanban

Finally, if you apply Kanban processes to your intake process while using the priority matrix, it can become very effective. Kanban is a simple approach to help control the flow of work by making visible all the work in progress. (For a quick overview of Kanban, I recommend a couple videos, one by Axosoft and the other by Atlassian, but please note that while this is often discussed in the context of software development, Kanban can be applied to managing many types of work). If you apply work-in-progress limits (WIP limits), then you can supercharge your intake process by fully controlling the amount of work people do without exceeding their capacity. Kanban is an excellent way to bring priorities and resource capacity together.

For organizations that see a high volume of work requests, these requests should be captured in a central location. Before starting work, a Manager can review the backlog of requests and apply the priority matrix to determine the initial priority of the work. Based on this evaluation, all work in the queue can be sequenced based on priority. Only when resources are available to begin new work will new assignments be given based on the WIP limits. This helps provide a steady stream of work without overloading the teams involved. This approach works for managing large volumes of project requests, operational requests, or a mix of both.

If you have questions about how to develop a priority matrix or need expert help, contact us today.

Tim is a project and portfolio management consultant with 14 years of experience working with the Fortune 500. He is an expert in maturity-based PPM and helps PMO Leaders build and improve their PMO to unlock more value for their company. He is one of the original PfMP’s (Portfolio Management Professionals) and a public speaker at business conferences and PMI events.

What is a priority matrix?

Priority matrix for mac

A priority matrix is a tool used to categorically prioritize types of work. It has three primary strengths: simplicity, speed, and applicability to all types of work (projects and operational work). A priority matrix is easy to understand and simple to use because calculations are not required.

Download Priority Matrix

When Should a Prioritization Matrix Be Used?

There are a few primary use cases for a priority matrix: 1) When there is a high volume of project intake requests that need to be evaluated. 2) When there is a high volume of both project requests and operational requests that utilize common resource pools. 3) For organizations new to portfolio management and need to start with a simpler mechanism for prioritizing project work.

How Does a Priority Matrix Compare to a Scoring Model?

Decision Priority Matrix

A priority matrix is simply a different approach to prioritizing work. It is not in conflict with a traditional scoring model (which we highly endorse as long you build your model correctly). In fact some companies may use both for selected use cases. The priority matrix is about categorical prioritization, prioritizing work based on the type of work request. A scoring model takes into account multiple dimensions for evaluating project work and is used to determine relative project value. Furthermore, when evaluating multiple large projects, a scoring system will provide a more accurate analysis over a prioritization matrix.

What are the strengths of a priority matrix?

Priority Matrix Software Development

• A prioritization matrix is easy to understand and simple to use. • Calculations are not required for determining the relative priority of a project. It is most useful for prioritizing high volumes of work requests quickly • Because of its simplicity, prioritization becomes a much faster exercise and allows decision makers to quickly distinguish important projects from less important projects. • Various kinds of work can be prioritized using a prioritization matrix. • With a traditional scoring model, it is difficult to evaluate “keep the lights on” type of work, but with a prioritization matrix it is easier to compare priorities for project and non-project work. • It can provide a categorical ranking of projects in the portfolio

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