A pick chart is usually project management 101. Pick is an acronym for Possible, Implement, Challenge and Kill. Pick charts are used to segregate new ideas into these four categories to determine the next steps the organization must take with respect to those ideas. Before we start with a detailed explanation of what each category stands for, take a look at this simple pick chart template to get a blunt idea of what it should look like:

Example Template #1

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Download Pick Chart Example Template #1 in JPG, PNG, PSD, and AI Format below:

You can see that apart from the four categories we discussed, there are other rows and columns in this chart. The leftmost column with terms “easy” and “hard” stands for the difficulty that can be faced while implementing the idea. The topmost row with the terms “low payoff” and “high payoff” stand for the predicted Return on Investment (RoI) after successfully implementing the idea. Now that you have a basic idea about what a pick chart is, let’s see what each quadrant in the previous chart stands for:

  • Possible: This category includes ideas that seem easy to implement, however, have a low payoff. This means that the idea itself can be implemented easily but the RoI is not that impressive to consider implementing it immediately.
  • Implement: These are the kind of ideas that are easy to implement and can give high payoffs. In simpler words, these ideas are also known as Just-do-its. You might have already understood how they got this name. Since the ideas are easy to implement and can give high returns, an obvious decision is to implement them directly without further delay.
  • Challenge: The ideas that fall under this category are difficult to implement but have a high payoff. Such ideas need a little more discussion and brainstorming to decide the priority and the resources required before proceeding with implementing the idea
  • Kill: This category includes ideas that are difficult to implement and have a low payoff. Hence, the best decision is to discard working on such ideas. It might be suitable to revisit the idea at a later stage when the organization is under different circumstances but not at this point, in other words ‘kill’ the idea.

This is how it can look like after being filled:

Example Template #2

Download Pick Chart Example Template #2 in JPG, PNG, PSD, and AI Format below:

In this article, you will find a few pick chart templates for your perusal. Now that we have a good idea about what falls under which category, let’s understand how to go about creating a pick chart.

How to create a pick chart

Creating a pick chart is a group activity as it involves brainstorming and discussions to decide which idea would fall under what category. After you have selected or created an appropriate pick chart template, you can follow these steps to create your own pick chart:

  1. To begin, each member of the group can write out their ideas on post-it notes. It’s best not to rush this stage as giving enough time might bring out a solid idea that can benefit the team or the organization greatly.
  2. Once all the ideas are ready, the first step is to go through all ideas and remove any duplicates that might have occurred.
  3. Next, the team can start picking up ideas one by one and discuss and categorize them as per the conclusion the whole team arrived at.

Here’s another example of how your filled pick chart might look:

Example Template #3

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Download Pick Chart Example Template #3 in JPG, PNG, PSD, and AI Format below:

The decision making process

The third step of pick chart development where an idea is discussed is essentially the most important step of this process. To have a fruitful discussion, it is important to ask the right questions. Some of them can be:

  • Has this been implemented in the company before?
  • Do we have a reference for this being implemented in another company?
  • Is the technology required to implement it well known?
  • Do we need to acquire third-party services to implement it or are we capable on our own?
  • Do we need to rely on another department internally?

These questions might really help steer the discussion in the desired direction. Along with the right set of questions, you need to follow some important best practices. This is to make sure the discussion stays on track, and you can reach a conclusion for all ideas without wasting any time or resources:

  • Make sure all team members are aware of the main purpose of the activity, which is to find the most useful ideas and work on them
  • Keep it as simple as possible. Try to stick to the four available choices, however, it is fine to introduce levels like “ extremely difficult” or “very high payoff” in some rare cases as an exception
  • Avoid ranking ideas on a continuous scale. It might end up consuming a lot of time, as people argue about where the idea belongs along the scale, without adding any value to the discussion.
  • Some people in the team might be reluctant to categorize an idea as difficult with low payoff because of the “kill” label in the quadrant. It might be a good idea to avoid writing quadrant names except for “Just-do-it” (implement).
  • Avoid putting an idea on the line between two quadrants. This might create confusion going ahead
  • Try to maintain a time frame for the discussion of each idea. If an idea seems to take too long, place it in the closest quadrant according to the discussion with a note to revisit at the end if time permits
  • Create an electronic record of the chart during or after the meeting for future reference

An ideal pick chart template when filled while following all the best practices looks like this:

Example Template #4

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Download Pick Chart Example Template #4 in JPG, PNG, PSD, and AI Format below:

Criteria for difficulty and payoff

When we’re talking about a discussion to segregate ideas based on their difficulty and the expected payoff, it is important to have clear criteria for both of them to enhance the judgment. Having set criteria increases the chances of reaching a unanimous decision quickly. Here’s a list of pointers you can use to decide on what basis an idea can be marked easy or difficult:

  • Time required: For example, an idea can be termed easy if the time taken to implement it is less than 90. It can be termed as difficult if the implementation takes more than 90 days
  • Resources required: It is based on the number of resources required from the organization. An idea can be termed as easy if they are already available and difficult if they need to be hired
  • Acquiring third-party services: Usually it becomes a little difficult for organizations to work with third-party vendors for specific services compared to the services being fulfilled internally. If the implementation of an idea requires collaborating with an external vendor, it’ll probably add more difficulty to the project and render the idea suitable on the difficult side of the chart

That’s just half of the picture. Now let’s look at some sample criteria to determine the judgment based on payoffs:

  • Lead time reduction: Lead time is the duration that passes from the beginning of a process to the end of it. For example, we can consider that an idea has a high payoff of lead time is reduced by more than forty hours. If it is less than that, we might as well consider the idea as low payoff
  • Yield: Another important quantity to measure the payoff of an idea. To give an example, the idea can be considered high payoff if it can increase the yield by more than 10%. If not, it must be categorized as low payoff idea
  • Focus on the customer: It is a straightforward fact that more focus on customers means higher payoff. If an idea will focus more on customers themselves, fulfilling their needs and opinions, that idea will definitely have a higher payoff. Adversely, lesser focus on customers will lead to a lower payoff
  • Handoffs: An idea that requires fewer handoffs between departments or individuals is more efficient than the one with a higher number of handoffs by default. More handoffs mean more chances of errors and miscommunication. This kind of mishap can very well result in lower payoffs. To conclude, the idea with minimal handoffs can be considered a high payoff idea

Once all the criteria are properly defined, it is highly unlikely for a team to face any roadblocks in categorizing ideas. They just have to find the perfect pick chart template suitable for them, jot down their ideas, and fire away.

Advantages of using pick chart templates

We have seen how pick charts are prepared and what best practices we need to follow to make the most out of them. Now let’s see the why. Here’s a brief list of the most common advantages of using pick chart templates for your decision-making purposes:

  • It helps to find effective solutions and different alternatives
  • Flexible planning can be done oriented to the real requirements
  • It helps you identify the risks
  • It sets a clear perspective about which projects should be prioritized

Here’s one interesting example of how a pick chart template can be used to make decisions about marketing strategies based on the expenses required and revenue generated:

Example Template #5

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Download Pick Chart Example Template #5 in JPG, PNG, PSD, and AI Format below:

Few more templates

Before we conclude, let’s look at a few more styles of pick chart templates for you to choose from:

Example Template #6

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Example Template #7

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Download Pick Chart Example Template #7 in JPG, PNG, PSD, and AI Format below:

Example Template #8

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Download Pick Chart Example Template #8 in JPG, PNG, PSD, and AI Format below:

Example Template #9

Download Pick Chart Example Template #9 in JPG, PNG, PSD, and AI Format below:

Example Template #10

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Download Pick Chart Example Template #10 in JPG, PNG, PSD, and AI Format below:

Example Template #11

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Download Pick Chart Example Template #11 in JPG, PNG, PSD, and AI Format below:

Example Template #12

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Download Pick Chart Example Template #12 in JPG, PNG, PSD, and AI Format below:

Example Template #13

Download Pick Chart Example Template #13 in JPG, PNG, PSD, and AI Format below:

Example Template #14

Download Pick Chart Example Template #14 in JPG, PNG, PSD, and AI Format below:

Example Template #15

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Download Pick Chart Example Template #15 in JPG, PNG, PSD, and AI Format below:

Conclusion

With this, we can say that we have completed our brief journey through the basics of a pick chart and looked at a few samples of pick chart templates. Hope all this information guided you to use pick charts efficiently and comfortably.