Decision Matrix Diagram Templates
Introduction to decision matrix diagram:
Business owners and professional have to make lots of decisions on regular basis. Decision making is also not just limited to professionals but you make great deal of decisions in your personal life as well. Thinking about available options and stressing yourself to choose the best option can overwhelm you and put strain on your mind. In this situation it is possible to make a bad decision under pressure. A decision matrix diagram is a well organized system that helps professionals and individuals with evaluation of available options and criteria to give priority to each option.
Professional applications of decision matrix diagram:
The core purpose and reason for using a decision matrix diagram is to free your mind from over thinking and putting all available options on the paper to see which one is better. This is a critical thinking process that business analysts have to do on regular basis. But, this matrix is not limited to corporate use only but you can use it literally for any kind of decision. From selecting a new office building to finding perfect restaurant for meeting with a client to choosing new stereo system for your studio to buying a new car to selecting a destination for vacation, options are unlimited here. In order to understand the opportunities and facilities that a decision matrix diagram has to offer, you can think of a situation where you have a few options to choose from various criterions to evaluate that option and this can be any decision of your work and personal life.
Key elements of a decision matrix diagram:
- Creating the matrix table:
In order to work with decision matrix diagram, you need to create the grid or matrix first. At this stage you have a few options; you can download a matrix template from website, you can create your own matrix using MS Excel or you can also draw it on a white board. There are columns and rows in the matrix and each row indicates towards an option while each column includes scoring criteria for that option. Let’s say you are looking for a new office building and you have 4 options or locations. You should put name of each location in each row and in the next step, it’s time to define criteria for scoring of each option.
- Criteria brainstorming:
In this part, you need to define different criteria for each option so you can understand which option has more benefits. These criteria depend mainly on your situation and needs and requirements. For instance, when you are looking for a new office building and you already have 4 great options, you need to set criteria to give points to each of them. Some common criteria in this situation include; market value, ease of excess, employee commute time, overall condition of the building, office space, parking space, direction of the building i.e. east or west facing and excess to the nearest highway. Each column should include a separate criterion. This means the more options you have, the more rows the matrix will include and the more criterion you have, the more columns the matrix will have.
- Evaluation and ranking of criteria:
At this stage, you have all the options and criteria mentioned on the matrix diagram and it’s time to start evaluation of each option and criterion and give those ranks or scores. Start with the first option and evaluate how well each criterion is met if you choose this option. A better approach is to give scores from 1 to 5 to each criterion with 5 being the highest score for fulfilling all requirements. Unlike previous steps, this part is time consuming and it requires lots of thinking and consideration but it’s vital to see which option has more advantages for your situation.
- Weight each criterion:
Next you need to evaluate each criterion and see how important it is for your situation. For instance in the above mentioned situation where you are looking for a new office building, you should evaluate which factor is more important for you i.e. is shorter commute time of employees more important than an east facing building or if more parking space is a priority over bigger conference rooms. This way you can give weight to each criterion from 1 to 5 or 10 depending on how important they are to you.
- Give score to the options:
The last step here is to calculate and see what score each option has in the last column. Keep in mind that while calculating the scores, you also need to count the weight of each criterion because an option might have higher score but prioritized criterion might not be met with this option. After calculating the final score and putting it in the last column, you have a fully functional decision matrix diagram in front of you. As soon you find the most suitable and highest scoring option on the matrix, you realize that you can use this diagram for literally any situation in your life and that’s the beauty of it.