Make The Right Decision Using A Decision Matrix
Did you know that we make up to 20’000 decisions daily? Most of them are snap decisions we make unconsciously and intuitively. What am I going to wear today? Shall I take a second cup of coffee? Shall I go by bus or by bicycle to work?
But in professional as well as in private life, there are often important decisions to make which can cause quite some headaches. These can be far-reaching decisions requiring great consideration. Thus, we have difficulties in making these decisions.
Learn here how to make the the right decision using a decision matrix:
You can make decisions based on intuition and gut feelings. However, when facing a crucial decision a rational and structured approach to decision making is recommended. Possible decision making techniques are the CAF method (Consider All Facts), the PMI method (Plus Minus Interesting), decision making by means of a decision tree or a decision matrix. The great advantage of a decision matrix is that the decision is made rationally and is comprehensible at a later stage. This can be very helpful and make a decision acceptable, especially when several people are involved.
The decision matrix is based on a table / matrix including all the possible options and criteria that may influence your decision. The criteria are then evaluated for each option.
Enter all the possible options in the X-axis of the chart (horizontal line). In the Y-axis (vertical line) list all the decision criteria. In practice, it has proven useful to formulate the criteria as succinct keywords. Then evaluate the various criteria for each individual option. For the evaluation choose a common scale as for example the grading scale 1 to 6 or the 10 point scale. Now, enter the values below the respective option. In the bottom row you enter the total of the values for each option. The option with the highest value is considered the „Winner“ and thus the decision to be made.
Often, however, a more differentiated decision is required since not all criteria have the same importance. The Weighted Decision Matrix is a good choice here. In the Weighted Decision Matrix you assign your importance (weights) to all criteria. For example when buying a car, you will weight the importance of the price, the fuel consumption, the engine power etc. differently.
In the Weighted Decision Matrix an additional column for the weighting of the individual criterion is added. The value of weighting will then be multiplied by the value of the criteria for each option. Again, the grading scale can be used for the weighting of the criteria. It is often recommended to assign the weighting of the criteria as percentages and distribute a maximum of 100%. However, when having many criteria, the distribution of exactly 100% can become time-consuming and very tedious since you just can’t get around the adjustment of the values.
The following examples show how the decision matrix is helpful and can be used in everyday life.
3. 1 Example: Making Decisions About Job Offers
It’s great to have the possibility to choose between several job opportunities. However, making the right choice is not always that easy and can even be burdensome. Therefore, it is all the more important to define and weight the personally relevant criteria.
Tip: Do you need help in finding the relevant criteria? The blog posts „Deciding Whether or Not to Accept a Job Offer“ on dummies.com and „How to decide between two job offers?“ by Mark Swartz on monster.ca provide you helpful hints when defining your decision criteria.
A decision matrix about job offers could look like this (Link to Excel Table).
3.2 Exmaple: Car-Buying Decision Matrix
A new car is needed. The budget is calculated and the maximum price defined. There are three affordable cars available at the car dealer. But what are now the purchase criteria in order to choose the right car?
Tip: „The Complete Guide To Buying A New Car: What To Look For In A New Car“ by Ben DeMeter offers valuable support for defining your car buying decision matrix.
A car buying decision matrix could look like this (Link to Excel Table).
3.3 Example: Home Buying Decision Matrix
When buying a home much money is involved. Therefore, it is all the more important to know the personal wishes and decision-making criteria.
Tip: The post „Top 10 considerations when buying a house“ by Mark Huffman is a helpful checklist to specify the decision criteria.
A home buying decision matrix could look like this (Link to Excel Table).
Are tables and calculations too cumbersome to you? Are you looking for a simple solution to create a weighted decision matrix? The decision making software Decision Making Helper for Windows is of great help here. The various options and criteria are quickly and easily entered, evaluated and weighted. Via mouse click only you learn from charts and graphics what the right decision is; traceable and verifiable at any time. The decision making software for only USD 20 can be tested thoroughly before purchase. Download now the free trial version. For further information please visit https://www.infonautics-software.ch/decisionmakinghelper.
By the way, the three examples mentioned above are available free of charge upon request. We will provide you templates you can easily import into the decision making software Decision Making Helper and adapt to your needs.
The decision matrix is a helpful method for making structured and rational decisions, which are verifiable and comprehensible afterwards.