GUT matrix is part of a set of mechanisms called Quality Tools
We have already talked about another opportunity about a great tool for identifying problems, the Ishikawa Diagram. It is part of a set of mechanisms called Quality Tools, methods to facilitate the management of a company’s processes.
These tools and others, despite differing from each other, do not cancel each other out. Quite the contrary: the uses of these tools are complementary. And today we’ll talk about another very valuable tool to define priority in solving problems: The Prioritization Matrix or simply GUT Matrix.
This tool was created by Charles H. Kepner and Benjamin B. Tregoe, in 1981, in the book The Rational Administrator. In this book, the authors define a strategic approach to problems and their solutions, aiming at agility in decision-making in a company.
The purpose of the creation was to improve the workflow of companies that had complex problems, such as the broad American and Japanese chains. This tool, however, can also be applied in every day and routine situations and not just in the business context, due to its ease of execution.
What is the GUT Matrix
The acronym GUT means nothing more than Severity — Urgency — Trend, the three elements for classifying a problem. It is necessary that these parameters are very well-defined for the matrix to be effective.
Severity: This parameter analyzes the impact of the problem if it is happening or if it happens. Here, we analyze how serious it will be for those involved if this problem has a negative outcome.
Urgency: Here we analyze the time evaluate for solving a problem, defining that the most urgent is the one that has less time for a solution action. This parameter also defines the resolution time of a problem, from the first action to eradication, considering the whole process in time for the expected result.
Trend: This parameter aims to identify the nature of the problem in terms of evolution. In it, we analyze the potential for the problem to get worse in the face of the lack of a solution or of taking action about it.
Once these parameters are defined, it is enough to apply the matrix, listing each problem and defining a grade according to these parameters.
Applying the GUT Matrix
Now, with the problems identified, and the parameters adjusted, you must sign a grade according to each parameter. Grades range from 1 to 5, and work as follows:
Gravity: A score closer to 1 means less damage, while a score closer to 5 means very serious damage, even irreversible;
Urgency: A number closer to 1 means that the problem has more time to take action or resolve, and closer to 5 means the need for immediate resolution;
Trend: A score close to 1 means that the difficulty does not tend to get worse, but will remain the same, and a score closer to 5 means that the difficulty can evolve quickly if no action is taken about it.
Knowing this, just make a table with each of the problems, defining the numbers correctly in each column. After that, just multiply the grades, being GxUxT. The result of this multiplication will give the total score of each of the listed issues.
There are situations in which scores are tied between two or more issues. In this case, it is enough to define each of the GUT aspects more judiciously, observing each one in detail. This is how the ranking of priorities for solving problems is defined.
Application of other tools
Once the priorities are defined, you can apply a method for analyzing the causes, such as the Ishikawa Diagram itself, or other methodologies, such as an action plan for solving problems. Thus, you optimize your time and energy, evaluating which point should be prioritized over others.