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Quick Wins are found in the Payoff Matrix shown in the “two by two” below provides the classic means of prioritizing your options. Using return (ie, Impact of the Solution) and investment (ie, Cost of Implementation, typically time or money) as the criteria dimensions, it sorts your options into one of four categories:

  1. Quick Win (aka, Quick Hit)
  2. Major Opportunity
  3. Special Effort
  4. Time Waster
Return on Investment Payoff Matrix

Return on Investment Payoff Matrix

Alternative Payoff Matrix

Perhaps a more engaging and stimulating way to frame the options with a Payoff Matrix, substitutes the Probability of Success for the investment or cost dimension. If so, the alternative Payoff Matrix would include the following labels:

  1. Quick Win
  2. Tried and True
  3. Wild and Crazy
  4. Hail Mary Pass
Probability Based Payoff Matrix

Probability Based Payoff Matrix

Method for Building a Payoff Matrix

Once you have built your options, code them onto small Post-It® notes. Alpha coding (ie, A, B, C, etc.) is preferred to numeric coding (ie, 1, 2, 3, etc.) because it denies subtle bias about relative importance that is implied when using numbers. Consider iconic coding as an alternative to strip away all possible bias (ie, ✚, ♢, ✇, etc.).

Place your matrix criteria on a large white board. Begin by facilitating from the zero point, or middle of the matrix. Then work one dimension (criteria) at a time, asking if it is more or less than other options previously posted. Complete when the group can support the entire array.

Alternative

Break your team into three groups and have each group complete their own coding, probably on a large sheet (ie, 50cm * 75cm) and bring all three Payoff Matrices to the front. Create a fourth and final Payoff Matrix by merging the three, facilitating discussion about the differences until the group can support the final array.

Next Steps

Complete your prioritization effort with two more steps: assign roles and responsibilities for further development and conduct a Guardian of Change to agree on what participants will tell others after your meeting has concluded.

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Facilitation Expert

Terrence Metz, CSM, PSPO, CSPF, is the Managing Director of MG RUSH Facilitation Training and Coaching, the acknowledged leader in structured facilitation training. His FAST Facilitation Best Practices blog features over 300 articles on facilitation skills and tools aimed at helping others lead faster, more productive meetings and workshops that yield higher quality decisions. His clients include Agilists, Scrum teams, program and project managers, senior officers, and the business analyst community among numerous private and public companies and global corporations. As an undergraduate of Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and MBA graduate from NWU’s Kellogg School of Management, his professional experience has focused on process improvement and product development. He continually aspires to make it easier for others to succeed.

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