You can do affinity mapping based on the actions, and prioritize those actions.
Card sorts are great for grouping objects and their related categories (or attributes within). In your case it seems like you want to find out the CRUD relationships and priorities.
What are the VERBS I can do to the NOUNS?
I'll update my answer if these assumptions are incorrect. A couple of thoughts here:
1. Do they understand the system objects? i.e., are the nouns understood?
- If not, you can start by having them identify the system objects.
- They can even prioritize these from left to right, from essential to less important:
2. Do they have prior assumptions about what they can do to these objects?
- Approach A: Have the verbs written, (you probably have an action vocabulary based on your domain) and have them line up the verbs w/ the modules as they understand it
- Approach B: Have the user write the verbs
- If you have them write these out themselves (rather than canned labels), you might also gain some insights by seeing what people name the actions. This can provide clues to writing out your application grammar.
- You can have them order these by the most important
You can break the users into groups based on roles if you have an existing system w/ constraints and need to see how these users think of actions based on two factors:
- what they can actually do
- But may have a lack of understanding based on an actions current label (e.g. 'remove' vs 'delete')
- what they need to do, but don't have access to based on:
- The inability of the current system
- The permissions in their current role
Here's a simple schematic I've used in a similar situation:
A lot of this is based off a very effective and thoughtful approach called Object Oriented UX (note, I've studied this but this is not a pitch).