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Decision techniques, and guidance for selecting the right decision making tool
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aka PICK Matrix, Impact Effort Matrix
The most popular decision making tool, because it visually charts alternatives into quadrants based on Impact and Effort to Proceed, Investigate, Consider, or Kill
A simple way to apply a systematic approach for making many diverse types of choices.
Simply list the Objectives and weights of Importance in columns, and list your Alternatives in rows, and then use your chosen Rating system to answer the question:"How well does each Alternative meet each Objective?"
Learn more about the Decision Matrix template
aka Forced Choice, Paired Comparison, Values Ranking worksheet
To prioritize a long list of choices
especially when subjective personal preferences are very important.
Often used to prioritize potential evaluation criteria that you might then use within another decision-making tool
Learn more about the Values List Worksheet
Can also be used to prioritize a long list of choices.
The most thorough decision making method — to use when there are serious consequences for a wrong decision.
Learn more about the Prioritization Matrix
To visually understand relationships between any two factors affecting an issue.
There are many types of quadrant charts, including:
Learn more about the Quadrant Chart template
To Do List
The To Do List has two (optionally unhidden) columns for Important and Urgent with color-coded conditional formatting to help you prioritize using the logic of an Eisenhower Matrix
It could be argued that every continuous improvement tool is actually a tool for making some type of decision.
Here are a few that deserve special mention...
Although the A3 Report is best known as a problem solving tool,
it is also a very powerful tool (and method) for decision making
and no matter which decision making tools and methods were used, an A3 Report provides a ideal way to 'tell your story' of what problems were faced, what root causes were identified, what goals and targets were chosen, what options were considered, why you made your choice, how your changes were implemented, and expected vs. actual measured results.
All on one page.
Force Field Analysis
Use your Force Field Analysis template to make better decisions based upon a better understanding of the psychological forces within the workplace.
A tree diagram is an excellent tool to graphically depict a decision tree that has simple, uncomplicated branches.
If the branches aren't so simple,
then a Decision Logic Flow Chart is a better choice.
A simple Matrix template can be personalized to analyze just about anything.
Cause and Effect Matrix
House of Quality – QFD
The House of Quality QFD answers the same question
"what do our customers want from us?"
but more thoroughly.
And features a "roof" to identify Alternatives that reinforce or conflict with each other.
Scatter Plot X-Y Graph
You can use the Correlation Analysis section of your Scatter Plot template
to determine whether or not two decision-making variables might be correlated.
You can use your Histogram template
to look for patterns within the observations of your data.
Strategic Planning Tools
The biggest decisions are strategic.
And these strategic planning tools provide structure and systems to focus your team's thinking.
Value Stream Mapping
Value Stream Mapping is a strategic tool to answer the all-important question:
"Where should we focus our attention?"
(What continuous improvement projects will yield the most benefits to our customers?)
You can use any of the following rating scales for just about any decision tool.
Tip: You can optionally personalize your master template with your preferred rating scale — in a way that your rating scale will be automatically found and transferred to your new master template each time that you upgrade.
1,2,3 or 1,2,3,4,5
On your DV worksheet (where you define your dropdown lists), simply specify what each rating criterion means
1,3,9 or 1,4,9
A popular method to increase differences between options
Rank order all or specified number of options — with highest number for the highest priority, and 1 being the lowest.
Establish a baseline (perhaps current conditions, or one of the options...)
For each criterion, rate each option in comparison to the baseline.
–1 if worse
0 if same
1 if better
You can optionally establish a finer scale.
For example, –2 or –3, rather than just –1
Selecting the right decision making process
Most of the following techniques can be used with or without a decision making tool.
In addition to the more systematic tools & approaches, the three most popular simple decision methods are:
The leader considers the options, and makes the decisions.
Either simple majority, or any moderating rules you come up with.
Sometimes results in hard feelings and/or sabotage.
Everyone agrees to support a decision, even if not their personal top choice.
The simple techniques for list reduction should always be used first.
If there are still too many options...
When to use
Ideally, questions are phrased to be answered with a "yes" or "no" — with "yes" being the desired answer, but there can be exceptions to this.
Usually, by asking the question, "Does this option satisfy this criterion?"
If there is disagreement, tally votes.
Start with the most important evaluation criteria, and work your way down.
You might reach consensus before wasting time on less important criteria.
If unable to reach consensus, perhaps use a more rigorous decision-making tool and/or method.
When to use
Perhaps assign a number or letter to identify each item.
Write all five on separate pieces of paper — along with priority ranking for each choice.
Highest number has highest priority.
Collect votes. Shuffle them. Write priority ranking number next to each item. Total the weighted votes.
To avoid hard feelings or sabotage, seek consensus, rather than simply outvoting the minority voices.
If agreement is not easy... either repeat multi-voting after discussion, or use a different decision making method.
When to use
On a flip chart... one phase at a time... (don't skip back & forth between pluses and minuses)...
Suggested Reading and Resources for
These decision making tools come with many other templates for lean leadership and process improvement
to empower every team member to improve every process
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