How to use the GUT matrix (process prioritization matrix)?
Organizations often have a lot of demands, and the sheer amount of processes that support them can end up being poorly managed and analyzed if they don’t get the proper attention from staff.
To improve the quality of these processes, we can rely on some tools that assist in the process setting priorities and solving the problems that emerge throughout their development.
In this article, we will talk a little about the process prioritization matrix, which is an ally for managers as well as quality management teams.
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What is a process prioritization matrix?
A process prioritization matrix is a user-friendly and easy-to-understand tool that helps in the process of prioritizing problems and internal company situations.
Using it correctly speeds up decision making by defining, with criteria, the level of importance of each item. It can be used in any type of organization and in various situations that require prioritization or organization.
It is basically a table made up of rows and columns – which can be reproduced on paper or in spreadsheets – that helps companies visualize management problems and the actions to solve them.
The Matrix was created by Charles Kepner and Benjamin Tregoe in 1981 (so it is also known as the Kepner Tregoe Matrix), and today it is one of the most widely used methods for quality improvement. Generally, the process prioritization matrix is integrated with other quality management methods such as the PDCA cycle, in the Planning phase.
The use of the method should be done in conjunction with the entire team, so that various points of view are analyzed and can be integrated to achieve success. There are several variations of the process prioritization matrix, but the most widely used is the GUT matrix.
How does the GUT matrix work?
The aspects analyzed by this variation of the table are: Gravity, Urgency and Tendency. This is the meaning of the acronym in the GUT matrix, represented by the initial letter of each of these words.
Referring to these aspects, problems are scored from 1 to 5 on each of the characteristics, and then multiplied to identify priorities.
But what do the scores and characteristics mean?
5 – Extremely serious and urgent. If not resolved the worsening will be immediate.
4 – Very serious, very urgent and will get worse in the short term.
3 – Serious, urgent and will get worse in the medium term.
2 – A little serious, a little urgent and will get worse in the long run.
1 – It is neither serious nor urgent and does not cause harm.
- Gravity: It is necessary to evaluate the seriousness of the problem and how it affects the organization and people in the short and long term.
- Urgency: According to its severity, this is where we analyze how long the problem needs to be resolved in order not to be aggravated.
- Tendency: It is the potential that the problem has to grow and worsen, damaging processes.
The GUT matrix is just one of the possible aspects that can be used in this type of analysis. In addition, factors such as Speed, Autonomy, and Benefit (RAB Matrix) can also be used according to team focus and the type of issues analyzed.
How can you use the process prioritization matrix, especially the GUT matrix, in your company?
To start using this method, you need to bring the team together to Brainstorm which will identify the most important issues to be prioritized by the matrix.
After reaching a consensus, employees should make their assessments and list problems according to the scores and their respective weights, if any. Follow the step-by-step step below to build a Prioritization Matrix for your company:
- Build the table by placing the problems to be analyzed on the rows;
- Sort problems for each of the variables (Gravity, Urgency, and Tendency);
- Multiply the three scores and prioritize the problems based on the results.
- Give top priority to problems by analyzing their weaknesses;
- Finally, come up with an action plan to counteract these problems!
The GUT Matrix or Process Prioritization Matrix is a simple-to-use method that can be used at any time in the organization. It can be tailored to the specific needs of each situation and easily integrated with other quality management tools.
It is important to pay attention to the development of each step so that there are really positive results in process improvement. Team participation and integration are also essential for the method to be fruitful!
Did you already know about the GUT Matrix? Do you see how useful it can be in your business?
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