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Priority Matrix: An Overlooked Gardening Tool

Don Goldmann, MD, IHI Chief Medical and Scientific Officer

 
Learning Objectives: At the end of this activity, you will be able to:
  • Explain the value of a priority matrix within an improvement project. 
  • Construct a priority matrix to evaluate a set of choices.
  • Interpret the results of a priority matrix.

Description: Don Goldmann is a well-known physician, educator, and … gardener? In this short video, Goldmann invites us into his home garden and uses a priority matrix — a useful tool in any improvement work — to determine which types of kale he plans to grow next year.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How might you use a priority matrix within an improvement project?
  2. When is the best time to use a priority matrix within an improvement project?
  3. Imagine you’re using a priority matrix to evaluate several change ideas within an improvement project on reducing wait times in the emergency department. What are some criteria you might use to identify the best tests?
  4. Have you ever created a priority matrix to help you identify the best change ideas in a project? Did the change idea turn out to be successful?
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