UIEtips: The KJ-Technique – A Group Process for Establishing Priorities

Jared Spool

July 19th, 2011

Our favorite method for prioritizing is the KJ Technique. It’s a method that helps teams rank the important issues for a focus question, such as “What are the most important usability problems we need to fix in this version of the design?” or “Which observations from a usability study are most important to act on?”

We’re such big fans of the process that I wrote an article about it several years ago. It also happens to be one of our most popular articles.

In our office, we probably conduct a KJ once a month. The KJ Technique is a great way to align everyone to the main objectives and priorities. We often go back to the results during projects to ensure we’re on the right path and help answer additional questions.

In today’s tips, we’re reprinting the article, The KJ Technique: A Group Process for Establishing Priorities. If you haven’t conducted a KJ analysis, you should try it with your team. This article gives you the step-by-step process to conduct your own. For those familiar with it, this article is a nice refresher.

Read the article The KJ-Technique – A Group Process for Establishing Priorities.

3 Responses to “UIEtips: The KJ-Technique – A Group Process for Establishing Priorities”

  1. Laurence Veale Says:

    Hi Jared,

    I’ve been running a very similar kind of workshop to the K-J technique (indeed I checked back here when prepping for my last one) and in addition to the benefits you outlined is the sense of empowerment stakeholders feel.

    I got great feedback from the last session I ran, mostly along the lines of, “Wow, we made real progress and it only took 90 minutes…we’ve been talking around this stuff for months and now it makes sense”.


  2. Umar Tanwir Says:

    Hi Jared,
    The process rocks and you know i am a fan (since we met first time in May). Thanks for posting this.

  3. David Mannheim Says:

    I’m a big advocate of the KJ technique and have credited such a technique in a recent blog post http://davidmannheim.co.uk/blog/better-ux-workshops-tips-tricks/

    Ultimately, I use post it notes but assume there is no specific preference? You don’t mention in http://www.uie.com/articles/kj_technique/ – whiteboards are a common alternative I suppose (but there’s nothing like the 3M post it note!)

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