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Six Sigma Tools & Templates Templates Prioritization Matrix Is Made Easier with a Template

Prioritization Matrix Is Made Easier with a Template

The prioritization matrix is a great tool, but it does not seem to be used as much as it could be. The reason is probably because it takes a lot of time to do manually, and it can be confusing. To make the tool more usable, this article is accompanied by an automated template in the form of an Excel spreadsheet

The prioritization matrix, also know as the criteria matrix, is used to compare choices relative to criteria like price, service, ease of use and almost any other factor desired. 

While this tool can be used effectively by an individual, it is great for helping Six Sigma project teams with decision making. The “seven management and planning tools” was taught to many by Michael Brassard, who wrote The Memory Jogger II in 1994. In his book, he said the prioritization matrix is said to: 

  • Quickly surface basic disagreements so that they may be resolved up front.
  • Force a team to focus on the best things to do, not everything they could do, dramatically increasing the chances for implementation success.
  • Limit hidden agendas by surfacing the criteria as a necessary part of the process.
  • Increase the chance of follow-through because consensus is sought at each step in the process (from criteria to conclusions).
  • Reduce the chances of selecting someone’s pet project.

Within the Six Sigma methodology, there are several places where this tool is just made for the job – from selecting projects, to determining which measurement instrument to use, to control the new processes. This tool can be useful in resolving the tradeoffs necessary in product and service design like those indicated in the “roof” of the quality function deployment house of quality. The tool is used extensively in making business decisions and in facilitating teams. (The author has even used it in choosing a house – comparing prices, numbers of rooms, garage sizes and locations.) 

On the prioritization matrix Excel spreadsheet, up to nine criteria can be entered, but the number of criteria can be expanded if necessary. Importantly, the spreadsheet allows weights to be assigned to the criteria since not all criteria are of equal importance. 

The example used in the explanation of the matrix is from on a fictitious project to evaluate and choose knowledge management software. Here is a step-by-step outline of how the matrix is used: 

Step 1: Open the Excel spreadsheet. Enter each of the criteria for judging a product or process on a separate line in the first column of initial gray box titled “criteria weight” (Figure 1), replacing existing criteria (or criteria #) with the new criteria. The criteria entered automatically will be placed in all the following comparison matrices, the summary matrix and the selection graph.

Figure 1: Criteria Weight

Figure 1: Criteria Weight

Figure 2: Values

Figure 2: Values

Step 2: Compare the first criteria to each of the others by choosing the most appropriate value from the values chart (Figure 2) and putting it in the matrix. (Note: Clicking on the “values” window will allow it to be dragged out of the way and repositioned to any location on the spreadsheet. Teams need this reference, particularly at first, to remind them of the evaluation description and its value.) 

In the example, the first comparison is between “little to no customization necessary” and “service costs.” The number 0.20 was entered, which indicates the team’s evaluation was that little need for customization to be of “less value” than service costs. The matrix automatically enters the reciprocal of less value, which obviously is “more value,” or the number 5.00, in the appropriate place on the service costs line. 

Continue the process by comparing the first criteria with each other criteria on the list. Then repeat the process for the criteria on the second, third, fourth, etc. lines, comparing them to the criteria not yet compared. Only put a value in the solid gray areas; the reciprocal value will be calculated and inserted in the light gray areas automatically. 

Step 3: Enter each of the products or processes being evaluated on a separate line in the first column of the second gray box (Figure 3). The entries automatically will be placed in all the other comparison matrices, the summary matrix and the summary graph.

Figure 3: Product or Process Entry

Figure 3: Product or Process Entry

Step 4: Now, compare the choices to one another considering each criteria. The team should use the same values that were used to compare the criteria, or characteristics, one to another. In the example, the “MicroLog” product was rated by the team as “much more value” (10.00) than the “EMG” product in terms of little need for customization. Consequently the reciprocal value, or 0.10, was automatically entered for the EMG offering. Again, the team need only put a value in the solid gray areas; the reciprocal values automatically will be calculated for the light gray areas. 

Step 5: After all the entries are made, results can be read in the summary matrix (Figure 4) and the selection graph (Figure 5).

Figure 4: Summary Matrix

Figure 4: Summary Matrix

Figure 5: Selection Graph

Figure 5: Selection Graph

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Leave a Comment


sterlink 06-11-2013, 08:59

Very helpful stuff here – will definitely give credit to you and your site. Please send me the unlocked version. Thank you!

Shirley Schiavone 07-11-2013, 12:38

This is exactly what I need to assist clients in system selection.

I would greatly appreciate an unlocked version of this spreadsheet in return for credit and citation when this product is utilized.

Thank you,
Shirley Schiavone, MSN, RN

Julian 07-11-2013, 12:45

Hi Edward

Great article and well explained. I remember a colleague using this template a few years back. Any chance you could forward the unlocked version. Much appreciated and again great stuff.


Jim 12-11-2013, 18:03

Hi Edward,
Can you send me an unlocked version as well?

Ed 14-11-2013, 05:46

Hi Edward,
It’s a great template!
Can you send me an unlocked version as well?

Christophe Van Den Bossche 15-11-2013, 01:03

Hi Edward,
Can you send me an unlocked version as well?

John K. 17-11-2013, 07:52

Any chance you can send me an unlocked copy as well? Thanks in advance.

M.DeCarolis 20-11-2013, 10:10

Is it possible to get an unlocked version?


Zack Wait 25-11-2013, 02:18

Please send me a copy of this great tool. Thanks!

Pedro Legrand 03-12-2013, 12:54

Can you please send me the unlocked?

Tom King 10-12-2013, 05:59

Mr. Carpenter,

Could you please send me an unlocked version of your spreadsheet?

Thank you
Tom King

Marcin 11-12-2013, 17:32

May I ask for unlock version as well?
Very useful tool!

Jeff Groebner 19-12-2013, 09:00

Great tool!

Any chance I could get a copy of the unlocked version as well?

Many thanks!


Marcin 19-12-2013, 23:30

I have a question to logic in this matrix.
I used this matrix to decide importance of several criteria (8 criteria) and final results shown that criteria A, D and E are almost equally important – less than 1% difference between all:
A = 12,8%
D = 12,6%
E = 13,2%

But – when I compare those criteria one by one – results are like that:
A > D (0.2)
A > E (0.2)
D = E (1.0)

So, where’s the logic? :-)
It should be A D, right?

Please help me understand…

Marcin 19-12-2013, 23:32

something cut my comment…
it should be
A < D and D < E… right? :-)

Kheim 21-12-2013, 12:29


I am working on a small project this weekend and would really appreciate am uncooked version that I can use. Also, how easy is it to add additional criteria as well as well as what is being measured. I would require a 13 x 13 sheet. Thanks

David Nicolle 30-12-2013, 07:13

I would greatly appreciate an unlocked version of this spreadsheet in return for credit and citation when I use this. This is just the kind of tool I need to help me prioritize all the projects and options I could do !


Waleed A. 30-12-2013, 09:40

Hi Edward.

This is an excellent tool! Can you please send me an unlocked version as well.

Waleed A.

Julie 13-01-2014, 12:18

can you please send me an unlocked version? there is an error in the summary matrix that I cannot fix.

I will definitely provide you as author and owner. Thanks,

Chantal 14-01-2014, 22:41

Hello, please, please help with an unlocked copy.


Amy 24-01-2014, 13:57

I would to have an unlocked version of this document. It is very useful!

Roy 19-03-2014, 11:44

This looks great. Can I get an unlocked version of this as well?

Thank you!!

Charles C Nuccio 25-03-2014, 10:43

This is a wonderful tool. Can I ask for an unblocked version in order to customize for a specific client need?

Mary Ann 26-03-2014, 12:43

Can you send me an unlocked version of the spreadsheet? I would like to use it for our IT projects.


Joe 03-04-2014, 08:59

Looking for a good prioritization matrix for new product development projects, this looks like a great tool, can you please send me the unlocked version?
Thank you!


Fred Infortunio 11-04-2014, 11:20

Very Nice.
Please send me a copy of the unlocked version.

I will certainly cite you.

Thank You

Helen Ough Dealy 13-04-2014, 18:33

PLease send me an unlocked copy – this could be a very helpful tool.

Dave Hughston 15-04-2014, 20:31

This would definitely be helpful to me. Could you send me the unlocked version?


Dave Hughston 16-04-2014, 08:05

I have a team meeting tomorrow. It would be great to have the unlocked version of the Prioritization spreadsheet for the team to use to determine which idea should be selected to work on.

Thanks so much! I look forward to using It is loaded with helpful information!


This is fabulous! 17-04-2014, 14:19

I would appreciate an unlocked copy. Thanks so much for posting this.


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