Struggling with a tough decision? Wavering back and forth, unable to make up your mind? Very likely your frustration results from thinking about a complex problem?like buying a house?one factor at a time. To attack a complex problem and keep track of its multiple factors, create a decision matrix:
- Down the left side, enter your options. Across the top, list your decision criteria. A criterion is an objective test upon which a judgment can be made.
- Assign a weight to each criterion to indicate its importance to a good decision. The weight is usually a number between 0.0 and 1.0 with the sum of the weights equaling 1.0.
- Then, one column at a time, ask: ?To what degree does option 1..2..3 contribute to criterion A..B..C?? Use a simple scale where 5 = Highest Contribution and 1 = Lowest Contribution.
- Multiply the score in each cell by the criterion?s weight.
- Then add across the rows to determine a total, weighted score for each option.
You should now have a deeper understanding of the relative value of each option. Hey, maybe you?ll even be able to make the decision!
Use the illustration below to build your decision matrix. For a comprehensive explanation, see our three-part post on multi-criteria decision-making. Alternatively, visit “Let Simon Decide,” a pretty effective online tool for matrix decision-making.