2x2 Prioritization Matrix Template

Help your team base important decisions on weighted criteria.

About the 2x2 Prioritization Matrix Template

The 2x2 prioritization matrix, or lean prioritization approach, is a tool that helps teams decide what to tackle next in their product backlog. 

The method is a quick, efficient way for your team to focus on features most likely to be valuable to your customers versus effort actually taken to deliver those features. 

Any team applying lean start-up methodologies can also use this matrix to make decisions and figure out where to focus their efforts in relation to where the risk is, or where the most valuable opportunities are. 

If you need a matrix that accommodates different phases or iterations, and granularity of effort versus value (from high to low), you may be looking for a 3x3 prioritization method.

Keep reading to learn more about the 2x2 prioritization matrix.

What is a 2x2 prioritization matrix

This model is a priority matrix that can help product managers determine priorities, and is also suitable for anyone leading projects and initiatives who needs help deciding what their team should focus on. A 2x2 prioritization matrix typically has 4 segments representing varying levels of effort and value:

  • Big bets, aka “do it next”: 

  • product features or tasks that are valuable but difficult to implement

  • Quick wins, or “do it now”: 

  • product features or tasks that are valuable and easy to implement

  • Time sinks, aka “don’t do it”: 

  • product features or tasks that aren’t worth investing in right now

  • Maybes, or “do if or when there’s time”:

  •  low-value tasks that can be returned to later on

The value parameter considers the business value of your product feature or idea. The effort parameter considers resources (like time, money, people) that may be needed to finish the tasks outlined.

When to use the 2x2 prioritization matrix

Agile development teams can use the 2x2 prioritization matrix to decide which features, fixes, and upgrades to work on next. This framework can help you decide the least amount of features you need to launch a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), or prioritize tasks for an upcoming Agile sprint.

Whether you’re a product manager or leading a new business initiative, it’s worth considering how each idea informs each of these elements:

  • Acquisition (gaining new customers)

  • Activation (when customers understand the value of the product or feature)

  • Reach (how many customers are impacted)

  • Revenue (the profitability of a product or feature)

  • Retention (returning, active customers)

  • Virality (influence or “stickiness” of the product or service)

Teams can also use the matrix to make business decisions such as:

  • New markets worth pursuing and prioritizing 

  • Campaigns and messaging to invest in 

  • Departments, functions, or capabilities worth building or expanding on next

Ideally, a 2x2 prioritization matrix helps your team create boundaries around what is realistic to tackle, and develop clarity and consensus around what’s most important for success, versus nice-to-have or unnecessary. 

Create your own 2x2 prioritization matrix

Making your own 2x2 prioritization matrix is easy. Miro’s whiteboard tool is the perfect canvas to create and share it. Get started by selecting the 2x2 Prioritization Matrix Template, then take the following steps to make one of your own.

  1. Define your business value.

  2. Ideally, tie the value of a product feature or initiative to how your organization drives value. Discuss with your team whether you’re looking at strategic, customer, or financial value. Edit the value parameter text as needed. 

  3. Define your risks.

  4. Risks usually come in the form of implementation (complexity, cost, or effort) and business-related (failure to adapt to change, compliance needs, or operational issues). Consider both. Discuss with your team which are more likely to impact plans. Edit the risks text as needed. 

  5. Edit your priority categories as needed

  6. You can also label the quadrants “Challenge,” “Implement,” “Reconsider,” and “Possible.” Brainstorm with your team about what action words best fit your product or initiative. 

Confirm and reach consensus on priorities. The matrix brings reason and logic to a team dynamic. Everyone may have different opinions when first planning, but ideally you want to end sessions with shared language: “low hanging fruit,” “hot zone,” “special investments,” “possible but low-value,” “more research before committing,” “only if extra budget and time are available,” and “not right now.” Think of these phrases as a spectrum between effort and value. Make decisions and investments accordingly.

2x2 Prioritization Matrix Template

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