# 7 Steps to Using Prioritization Matrices

*Lots to do but limited time and resources? Steve Bonacorsi looks at the seven steps to using prioritization matrices - especially useful in the project bounding and analyze phases of Lean Six Sigma quality.*

**What can it do for you?**

- You cannot do everything at once,
- You are uncertain about the best use of your resources or energy or
- You are looking toward specific improvement goals.

**How do you do it?**

**Step 1: Agree on the ultimate objective**

The first step in applying the Full Analytical Criteria Method is to ensure that the people working on the matrix agree on the ultimate goal they are trying to achieve.

**Step 2: List Criteria Needed to Meet the Goal**

Next, create a list of criteria or characteristics needed to achieve the goal or meet the objective. (The idea is simply to list the criteria without considering their relative importance. That happens later.) The team can do this by discussion or brainstorming. The purpose is to list all of the criteria that might be applied to all of the options. For example, if the team is considering which improvement step to attack first, some of their criteria might be:

- Low investment cost
- Maximum use of existing technology
- High potential dollar savings
- High improvement potential for process speed
- High improvement potential for defect reduction
- High customer satisfaction potential
- Minimum impact on other processes
- Ease of implementation
- High probability of quick results

**Step 3: Compare Relative Importance of Criterion**

5.0 = The criterion being considered is significantly more important or more preferred.

10.0 = The criterion is extremely more important or more preferred.

0.2 = It is significantly less important or preferred.

0.1 = It is extremely less important or preferred.

**Step 4: Evalute Your Options Against Weighted Criteria**

| Error prevention training |
| Rewrite procedures for clarity |

| Purchase new equipment A |
| Implement bar-coding |

| Purchase new equipment B |
| Cellularize operation 1 |

| Refurbish existing equipment C |
| Cellularize operation 2 |

| Refurbish existing equipment D |

**Step 5: Evaluate Criteria Against Every Other Criterion**

5.0 = The choice being considered is significantly more important or more preferred.

10.0 = The choice is extremely more important or more preferred.

0.2 = It is significantly less important/preferred.

0.1 = It is of negliable importance or preference. Complete the matrix; add the rows and columns and calculate the percentages as you did with the criteria matrix.

**Step 6: Compare Possible Choices For Remaining Criteria**

**Step 7: Bring it All Together**

- Under each criterion, in the weight row, note the percentage weighting you got from your first matrix, the one that compared each criterion with every other criterion.
- In each criterion column, enter the percentage numbers you got when you compared each option with every other option for that criterion. (The actual matrices for criteria d, e, f and i are not shown.) Enter these numbers as the first numbers in each column of the completed prioritization matrix.
- Multiply each option percentage by the criterion percentage weight for that criterion. (The results are the second numbers, the ones after the equal signs in our example.)
- Add the results of your multiplication down each column. The result for each column should be approximately the same as that criterion’s percentage weight (the number in the weight row).

- Add the column total row to come up with a grand total.
- Now, add the results of your multiplication across each row, and add the row total column. The result should be the same as the grand total you got by adding the column total row.
- Divide each row total by the grand total to get the percentage for each option. (Add the percentage scores as a check. The sum should be approximately 100 %.) This is the answer to your question.

**Now what?**