Imagine you work in a design department and your team has to decide surplus budget allocation for the next financial year. Now, there may be several ideas to use the funds such as getting advanced design software, better equipment or even an incubator to brainstorm ideas.
How do you pick an investment idea that satisfies every member of the team and also serves your purpose?
You can use a decision-making tool like a decision matrix or Pugh matrix to arrive at a solution. A decision matrix helps you weigh your options against pre-defined criteria. This is mostly used for important business decisions, but you can apply this strategy to any personal or professional decision.
Let’s look at decision matrix analysis and how it can help you make informed decisions.
What Is A Decision Matrix?
A decision matrix is an effective management tool that helps organizations and management pick one option over another. When you’re looking for effective, feasible and time-bound solutions, a decision matrix can come in handy.
The matrix is essentially designed with rows and columns featuring various options and the corresponding criteria with weights. Here’s an example:
Say, you have the budget to upgrade one of three existing products—P1, P2 and P3. You want to focus on three criteria—cost, quality and convenience. Follow these steps to design your matrix:
Assign weights to each option on a scale of 1-3 (3 being the lowest) based on the corresponding criteria, which are determined based on customer preference.
Add ranks to the criteria to determine most important to least on a scale of 1-3, respectively.
Multiply each criterion with its rank to determine the final value of its weight.
Your decision matrix will look something like this:
|Criteria Product||Cost (1)||Quality (2)||Convenience (3)||Weights|
|P1||1 X 1 = 1||2 X 2 = 4||2 X 3 = 6||11|
|P2||3 X 1 = 3||1 X 2 = 2||1 X 3 = 3||8|
|P3||2 X 1 = 2||3 X 2 = 6||3 X 3 = 9||17|
The sum of each criterion shows that P3 (highest weight, 17) should be upgraded.
You can use the decision matrix to solve problems when only one solution can be implemented or applied.
Steps In A Decision Matrix Analysis
Now that you’ve seen an example of a decision-making matrix, let’s summarize the steps in the process.
Define The Problem
The first step in the decision analysis matrix is to define the problem you’re trying to solve. You should know what you want to achieve with your decision-making matrix. It can be complicated and inconclusive if you’re not sure about your purpose. The problem could be to choose one option among many, decide where to allocate your budget and prioritize one task over another.
Determine The Criteria
The second step is to determine the attributes that define the problem. In the example, the criteria were cost, quality and convenience. These attributes are based on what customers want from a product. You may decide according to your situation. Choose criteria that’ll help you reach a conclusion—be as specific as possible.
Brainstorm And Assign Ranks
Before you start assigning ranks, take inputs from the entire team or key stakeholders who’ll be affected by your decision. This could be customer surveys, organizational feedback and brainstorming sessions. You can determine which criterion is the most—or the least—important.
Weigh The Options
Assign weights to the criteria and calculate which option has the highest weight. This can help you simplify the decision-making process. When one option weighs more than the others, you’ll find it easier to pick one and discard the rest.
Make A Decision
Finally, it’s time to make your decision and implement your strategy. A decision-making matrix helps you visualize your problem with possible solutions. It’s a more streamlined way to solve problems than simply discussing with your team members, which may not take you anywhere. However, the results of a decision analysis matrix don’t have to be binding. You can still exercise your better judgment and decide what you want to do.
Next time you’re facing a problem at work, you can use the decision matrix to find viable solutions. It’s a cost-effective, easy-to-understand and creative way to make decisions.
Learn more about decision-making and how to consider multiple perspectives with Harappa Education’s Making Decisions course. Our course is designed for those who want to make effective decisions without personal bias. Not only will you learn to make decisions but also communicate them to others. Continue on your journey to success with guided tutorials and expert advice!
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