How to do a needs assessment? Part 3: Pain vs Frequency

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Purpose

To successfully implement solutions, it is critical to understand what the most important problems are and what should be tackled first. To do this we will need to create a shared understanding of what the priorities should be via a Pain / Frequency Matrix.

A Pain / Frequency Matrix helps us develop this shared understanding by providing a framework for assessing what the most painful problems are and how often they occur. We want to focus on the most painful processes that occur frequently.

Objectives

The objective of the exercise is to create a pain / frequency matrix for each solution identified in an empathy map by:

  1. Ranking how painful a problem is.
  2. Ranking how frequently a problem occurs.
  3. Plotting the pain and frequency for a given problem onto a pain and frequency matrix to determine which problems. 

Resources

  • 3 different colored sticky notes 
  • Permanent marker 
  • Process stakeholders
  • Empathy Mapping Canvas template (optional)
  • Miro Software (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place the green sticky note that has name of the stakeholder in the middle of the matrix.
  1. From the empathy maps take each of the red colored sticky notes (i.e. the pains / issues) and place it in one of four quadrants depending on how painful and how frequent an issue happens:
    1. High Pain / High Frequency: Place the issues that you think are very painful (i.e. they create lots of inefficiency / work or lots of mistakes) and occur often in the High Pain / High Frequency quadrant.
  1. High Pain / Low Frequency: Place the issues that you think are very painful (create lots of inefficiency / work or lots of mistakes) but don’t occur often in the High Pain / Low Frequency quadrant.
  1. Low Pain / High Frequency: Place the issues that you think are not painful but occur often in the Low Pain / High Frequency quadrant.
  1. Low Pain / Low Frequency: Place the issues that you think are not painful but occur often in the Low Pain / High Frequency quadrant.

You should now have a pain and frequency matrix that looks something like the image below:

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