Tools to Help with Making Decisions
is useful in decision making when many possible courses of action can be taken.
According to Mindtools.com, “Pareto Analysis is a formal technique for finding the changes that will give the biggest benefits. It is useful where many possible courses of action are competing for your attention. Pareto analysis is a very simple technique that helps you to choose the most effective changes to make.” It involves:
- Listing the problems you face or the options you have available;
- Grouping options together when they are facets of a larger problem;
- Applying an appropriate score to each group; and
- Addressing the group or problem with the highest score.
is useful when there are many factors that must be considered when making a decision.
According to Mindtools.com, Grid Analysis – also known as Decision Matrix Analysis, Pugh Matrix Analysis, or Multi-Attribute Utility Theory (MAUT) – “is particularly powerful where you have a number of good alternatives to choose from, and many different factors to take into account. This makes it a great technique to use in almost any important decision where there isn't a clear and obvious preferred option.”
In Grid Analysis, all information is listed in a grid worksheet as follows:
- List your options in the grid rows.
- Identify factors that need to be considered in the decision-making process, and assign them a weight or number ranking for each factor. An example weight scale could range from 0 to 5 points, in which 0 equals “unimportant” and 5 equals “very important.”
- Score each option as it relates to the factors, assigning a number from 0 (poor) to 5 (very good) to represent how well the option addresses the criterion.
- Multiply the scores for each option/factor by the weight of importance and add all the scores within each option.
Using this method, you will have an overall score for each option – the option with the highest score wins!
can help determine the significance of a problem and show what causes contribute the most to the issue.
Documenting the frequency of an event, problem, action, or comment also helps show a pattern so you can see what solutions may be effective. These charts will help you record observations so that you can start to detect patterns.
is a simple checklist to stimulate thinking about the problem and/or implementing the solution. Defined by Peter Checkland as a part of his Soft Systems Methodology (SSM), it includes elements to help you identify the people, processes, and environment that contribute to a situation, issue, or problem that needs to be analyzed.
Problem Statements Exercise
A Problem Statement Exercise
can be used to help define a problem and what you want, and help people focus their ideas in the same area. It can be used as a discussion point to help people understand what is needed.
Identifying Critical Jobs in Your Organization
Organizing Team Decision Making
Sometimes making a decision about an issue that is large, complex, or has many potential solutions is better done with a team. The article, Organizing Team Decision-Making,
gives you key tools to help you involve the entire team in the decision making process.
How Good Is Your Decision Making?
The quiz, How Good Is Your Decision-Making?
, helps you assess and build your decision making skills, so that you can make better decisions. Mindtool.com hosts this assessment to help you become more adept at:
- Establishing a positive decision-making environment;
- Generating potential solutions;
- Evaluating the solutions;
- Checking the decision; and
- Communicating and implementing the decision.
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