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Impact Effort Chart

The Impact Effort Chart, also known as the Priority Matrix or Eisenhower Matrix, is a visual tool designed to assist in project management and decision-making. It provides a systematic approach to prioritizing tasks based on their impact and effort requirements.
The primary purpose of the Impact Effort Chart is to help teams and individuals prioritize tasks, projects, or initiatives by evaluating the impact each task has against the effort required to complete it. It serves as a strategic decision-making tool, aiding in resource allocation, time management, and overall project planning.

The roots of the Impact Effort Chart can be linked to the Urgent/Important Principle attributed to Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States. Eisenhower, a former military general, was known for his ability to manage time effectively. The Urgent/Important Principle categorizes tasks into four quadrants based on their urgency and importance. While not a visual chart, this concept laid the groundwork for later developments.

Components of the Impact Effort Chart

Impact refers to the significance or importance of a task, while effort represents the time, resources, and complexity required to complete it. These two components are measured on a relative scale, allowing for a balanced assessment of tasks in relation to each other.
The criteria for measuring impact and effort can vary depending on the nature of the project or organization. Common metrics include financial impact, stakeholder satisfaction, time constraints, and resource availability. The evaluation process often involves collaborative discussions among team members.

Quadrants of the Impact Effort Chart

  • High Impact, Low Effort (Quick Wins): Tasks in this quadrant are high-priority, offering significant benefits with minimal effort. Examples include automating repetitive processes or implementing low-cost improvements.
  • High Impact, High Effort (Major Projects): These tasks are crucial but require substantial resources. Examples may include launching a new product line or overhauling an outdated system.
  • Low Impact, Low Effort (Fill-Ins): These are low-priority tasks that may not contribute significantly to the overall goals but can be completed easily. Examples include routine administrative tasks.
  • Low Impact, High Effort (Avoid or Delegate): Tasks in this quadrant may not be worth the effort, and alternatives like delegation or avoidance should be considered. Examples include non-essential reports or overly detailed documentation.
What is an impact effort chart?
What is an impact effort chart?

Benefits of Using an Impact Effort Chart

Prioritization and Resource Allocation:
The chart helps teams prioritize tasks, ensuring that valuable resources are allocated to high-impact projects. This leads to increased efficiency and focus on critical goals.

Strategic Planning:
By visually categorizing tasks, the Impact Effort Chart aids in strategic planning, allowing organizations to align their efforts with overarching goals and objectives.

How to Create an Impact Effort Chart

Step-by-Step Guide:

  • Identify and list all tasks or projects.
  • Assess the impact and effort for each task, placing them on the chart accordingly.
  • Collaborate with team members to refine assessments and ensure consensus.

Data Gathering Tips:

  • Utilize historical data and project insights.
  • Conduct surveys or interviews with team members.
  • Consider expert opinions for more complex projects.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Overlooking team collaboration: Emphasize the importance of involving team members in the assessment process.
  • Neglecting regular updates: Encourage frequent reviews to adapt to changing project dynamics.

Tips for Effective Implementation

  • Foster open communication within the team.
  • Regularly revisit and update the chart to reflect changing priorities.
  • Use the chart as a guide, not a strict rule, adapting it to the unique context of each project.


Summarize the key points, emphasizing the Impact Effort Chart’s role as a valuable strategic decision-making tool. Encourage readers to integrate this approach into their project management toolkit for improved efficiency and successful project outcomes.