Is managing projects and prioritizing things getting too complicated for you? How great would it be if there was a way to assist you in understanding what tasks require what kind of attention and energy.
That’s where the Impact Effort Matrix or 2×2 matrix comes into play. It’s a tool that simplifies prioritizing and helps teams and individuals reconnect with their goals and identify actionable steps to get the work started.
If you’re looking for an easy impact effort matrix template, this article is an excellent lead-in. But first, let’s get you up to speed with the basics of the impact effort matrix.
What is an Impact Effort Matrix?
An Impact Effort Matrix or a 2×2 matrix is nothing but tool businesses and individuals use to prioritize tasks effectively. The prioritization happens by analyzing the effort that needs to be taken for a task and comparing it with the impact it will have.
For the most part, an impact effort matrix is created by brainstorming with your team. Doing so allows you to identify the total number of tasks and projects for all team members. You can then figure out the importance and urgency of those tasks.
With this exercise, you can identify the order of the tasks that need to be done to achieve the best impact with the lowest amount of effort.
Usually, the tasks with the lowest effort and highest impact are those you need to focus on. However, that is not to say that the low effort and low impact tasks are useless. Sometimes, even those can help out in some way or the other.
The 4 Quadrants of the Impact Effort Matrix
The 4 Quadrants of the impact effort matrix are as shown below:
These four blocks are segregated by having Impact on the X-axis and Effort on the y-axis. Each of the blocks is as follows:
#1. Quick Wins – Low Effort & High Impact
This block includes all the tasks that can be done easily or quickly but significantly impact the company or your work. The tasks in this block are of the highest priority.
#2. Major Projects – High Effort & High Impact
This block includes all the tasks that require a significant amount of effort and have a huge impact. These are considered the company’s long-term goals and have a decently high priority.
#3. Fill-Ins – Low Effort & Low Impact
This block includes all the tasks that can be done easily but don’t provide a big enough impact. So, the tasks under this block are not the biggest priority.
However, you can still do these tasks in your extra time or when you’re not feeling productive, just to get these tasks out of the way.
#4. Thankless Tasks – High Effort & Low Impact
This block includes all the tasks that take a lot of time and effort but don’t provide enough impact. These tasks are highly unnecessary and should be left undone if all other tasks need to be done.
When to Use An Impact Effort Matrix?
The impact effort matrix is a must to work on whenever you or your team has multiple projects or tasks with a wide range of potential benefits.
You also need it whenever you’re confused about the best course of action or deciding where to start.
Sometimes, the 2×2 matrix can even help you organize your workflow and make it clutter-free.
Usually, start-ups or smaller organizations have a ton of different work that needs to be done by a very small group of people. In such a chaotic structure, many ideas and projects could be hampered. So, a matrix can sort that mess and get the organization running.
Here’s a list of amazing benefits that the impact effort matrix has for you and your team:
Benefits of Impact Effort Matrix
#1. Keep Everyone in the Loop and Sync
The best benefit of the impact effort matrix is actually the way it brings everyone on the same page for working towards a goal. Your team can also use impact effort matrix templates to add another layer of organizing the work.
#2. Optimize Resources and Their Allocation
When you know what tasks need to be done and when they need to be done, you can manage your resources and allocate them properly. So, the critical resources are kept for the priority tasks.
#3. Creates a Sequence of Work Tasks and Prioritizes Tasks
The impact effort matrix helps create a sequence of actions/tasks organized based on priority. This creates a linear path for the team to follow through.
#4. Aligns the team with the company goals
Along with finding the priority tasks, the matrix also explains why the tasks need to be prioritized. So, the team understands the goals behind it and, in turn, understands the company goals.
#5. Saving Time and Maximizing Efficiency in Workflow
With the matrix, you can avoid spending time on things that require way too much time for way less impact. So, your workflow becomes more time-sensitive, and your work efficiency increases.
As easy as the impact effort matrix looks, there are still a few things that you can do to maximize the benefits and usefulness of this practice.
Tips to Facilitate Impact Effort Matrix
#1. Define Clear Objectives for the Matrix
The why of all things is important everywhere. Make sure you find that for the matrix as well. Having clear objectives and reasons to create the matrix will give you an accurate direction to perform this practice correctly.
#2. Brainstorm all the Activities and Tasks with your Teammates
Brainstorming always enables a holistic discussion about things. Doing so with your teammates will bring a different perspective to the matrix, and the tasks can be prioritized with everyone in mind.
#3. Create a Solid Action Plan for the Process After Creating the Matrix
Just making the impact effort matrix isn’t going to get things done. Actually, having a solid plan of action and executing it’s the only thing that will. So, make sure you have a plan ready for all the tasks and their sequences for a smooth workflow.
#4. Have Strong Communication Within the Team and Make Reports for the Tasks
Once the work has started, you’ll need to proactively communicate with the team whether the sequence or the priorities were accurate enough.
If there were areas of improvement, make sure to create a report of how it went to make adjustments for the next time you make another impact effort matrix.
That was all that you needed to know about Impact Effort Matrix. Now, let’s see a few Impact Effort Matrix templates that will make your life easier!
Miro is a fantastic tool designed for teams and individuals to create charts, tables, maps, and more for planning and organizing things.
While using this template, here are a few things we found out:
- The designing aspect is highly user friendly, and anyone with a basic knowledge of modifying these design templates can use this tool
- There isn’t much assistance in explaining how the impact effort matrix template works, so a beginner might have to research what it’s and how it’s done.
- While starting your first design, the tool asks for your experience in using design tools like Miro, which makes it beginner-friendly in terms of design.
Miro is a freemium tool, so you can use it to create templates for free. However, you can also upgrade it to access premium features such as unlimited projects, collaboration with multiple team members, etc.
Lucidspark is another design tool specifically created for productivity and work-related tasks. It features a simple UI and easy creation and editing of templates.
Here are the features of the Lucidspark impact effort matrix template:
- The UI is straightforward and fast; you can create the matrix quickly by adding the projects in the boxes
- The template features a basic design, but you can add images and change the colors and fonts to make it your own
- The basic layout of the four quadrants is made to feature tasks with variable levels of effort and impact, not just define them under one block, but you can shift them accordingly.
You can get started with Lucidspark for free, but you can also upgrade it to access other premium features.
Here are a few things about the Canva template for the impact effort matrix:
- Features a host of design features like adding elements, color, and font changes, adding images and videos, making animations, etc. which is somewhat an overkill
- Great tool for users who will frequently use it for other design requirements and content creation
- The impact effort matrix template features a traditional design that can only list tasks under the blocks and does not have custom levels for the same.
For productivity use only, Canva can seem a little too advanced for a lot of beginners.
However, it can be an excellent tool for intermediate or advanced users to create unique designs and templates.
It’s free to use, but having the premium version will allow you to access different templates and other elements.
Creately is a productivity design tool specifically made for businesses and organizations to handle organizational tasks such as creating an impact effort matrix template.
Here are the features of the Creately impact effort matrix template:
- The template is easy and colorful, with very simple ways to write down the tasks under each quadrant
- The layout of the matrix makes it easy to understand but does not offer a higher level of customization
- Beginner-friendly but restricts the users from customizing the template for better designs and layout for the matrix
Even though Creately isn’t the best for customization, it does its job very well and is a great solution for team leaders and managers who want to get the task done easily and quickly.
Groupmap is one of the best tools on this list for an impact effort matrix template. It combines the best of both worlds, i.e., designs and effectiveness.
Here are the features of the Groupmap impact effort matrix template:
- The template is extremely well made, where-in you can just click anywhere and start writing the tasks, and it will still look amazing
- The layout is very fluid, and you can micro-adjust the levels of impact and effort needed for that task
- There isn’t much to do in terms of designing, but the template features an attractive design that does the job
Design-wise, there is a limit to your customization where you can change the background and axis layout to fit your needs. However, you can make an excellent and effective matrix with minimal effort.
Ayoa is a productivity map design tool where you can find templates for project flow charts, graphs, matrixes, etc.
Here are the features of the Ayoa impact effort matrix template:
- The template is easy to work with and has enough design options to add a little bit of customization
- Impact effort matrix layout features a fluid design with individual project boxes to identify each of them correctly
- UI is beginner-friendly, but it’s somewhat slower than the rest of the tools on this list
The free trial version of Ayoa only lasts for 7 days, after which you need to get the premium version to create new templates.
Figma is a design tool that offers various templates for different types of maps and charts that organizations need for productivity and team management.
Here are the features of the Figma impact effort matrix template:
- When you start any diagram or template on Figma, you are greeted with a tutorial on using the tool, which is a great feature for the beginners
- There is also a box of instructions on how to use the template for the impact effort matrix and how you can customize it for better effectiveness.
The tool is minimalistic and offers enough guidance for a complete beginner to create a respectable impact effort matrix without anyone else’s help. It’s amazing for first-time users and even veterans who want to get it done and dusted quickly.
Venngage is a freemium design tool used to make different design templates and graphics. The Impact Effort Matrix is a part of the business version of Venngage, which is a paid version of the tool.
Here are the features of the Venngage impact effort matrix template:
- The impact effort matrix template offers a great fluid layout where you can adjust the amount of effort and impact the project has
- Design-wise, the tool offers great customization and a decent starter template to create an attractive design to display your projects effectively.
The impact effort matrix template by Venngage is a great tool, but the level of customization it offers isn’t good enough to warrant the purchase. Regardless, if you’re looking for good design software for multiple design projects, this is a good tool to have!
The Impact Effort Matrix is an essential practice to gauge the timeline and priorities for your work. To go with that, you also need an ideal template that works exactly the way you need it to.
After using all of these tools, we found that you don’t need to have high levels of customization to get a decent matrix template.
However, if you do go for the tools that offer that, you can maximize the matrix’s attractiveness and effectiveness.
You may also look at some decision tree templates.