Also known as: decisionmaking matrix, solutions prioritization matrix, problem/solution matrix, options/criteria matrix, cost/benefit analysis matrix, criteria/alternatives matrix.
Decision Matrix Definition
A decision matrix allows decision makers to structure, then solve their problem by:
 specifying and prioritizing their needs with a list a criteria; then
 evaluating, rating, and comparing the different solutions; and
 selecting the best matching solution.
As is, a decision matrix is a decision tool used by decision makers as part of their DecisionSupport Systems (DSS) toolkit.
In the context of procurement, which is the solicitation and selection process enabling the acquisition of goods or services from an external source, the decision matrix, also called scoring matrix, helps determine the winning bid or proposal amid all those sent in response to an invitation to do so that, depending of the bestsuited solicitation process, could either be a:
 Request for Proposals (RFP),
 Invitation for Bids (IFB),
 Invitation to Bid (ITB), or
 Invitation to Tender (ITT).
A decision matrix is basically an array presenting on one axis a list of alternatives, also called options or solutions, that are evaluated regarding, on the other axis, a list of criteria, which are weighted dependently of their respective importance in the final decision to be taken. The decision matrix is, therefore, a variation of the 2dimension, Lshaped matrix.
The decision matrix is an elaborated version of the measured criteria technique in which options are given, for each criterion, satisfactory or compliance points up to a maximum (usually from 0 to 100) that is predefined per criterion and may vary between criteria depending on its relative importance in the final decision.
The Decision Matrix is also called:
 AHP matrix
 advantages comparison matrix
 alternative evaluation matrix
 alternatives analysis decision making matrix
 alternatives analysis matrix
 alternatives comparison matrix
 alternatives/criteria matrix
 alternatives evaluation matrix
 alternatives ordering matrix
 alternatives prioritization matrix
 alternatives rating matrix
 alternatives scoring matrix
 analytical grid
 AnalyticalHierarchyProcess matrix
 analytical matrix
 application prioritization matrix
 bid decision matrix
 bid matrix
 bid/nobid analysis decision matrix
 bid prioritization matrix
 bid scoring decision matrix
 bidders comparison matrix
 comparison matrix
 cost/benefit analysis grid
 cost/benefit matrix
 criteria/alternatives matrix
 criteriabased decision matrix
 criteriabased matrix
 criteria rating form
 decision alternative matrix
 decision grid
 decisionmaking matrix
 decision matrix
 decision matrix form
 decisionsupport grid
 decisionsupport matrix
 decision table
 evaluation matrix
 evaluation criteria decision matrix
 executive decision matrix
 government decision matrix
 government procurement matrix
 importance vs. performance matrix
 importance vs. past performance matrix
 measured criteria technique
 multiple alternative matrix
 multiple dimension comparison matrix
 opportunity analysis
 option analysis and evaluation matrix
 options analysis decision making matrix
 options analysis matrix
 options/criteria matrix
 options prioritization matrix
 performance matrix
 performance vs. importance matrix
 prioritization grid
 prioritization matrix
 prioritizing matrix
 problem matrix
 problem prioritization matrix
 problem selection matrix
 problemsolution matrix
 problem solving matrix
 project selection matrix
 proposal comparison matrix
 proposal decision matrix
 Pugh matrix
 Pugh method
 rating grid
 requirements analysis table
 RFP alternative matrix
 RFP analysis matrix
 RFP evaluation grid
 RFP evaluation matrix
 RFP scoring matrix
 scoring matrix
 scoring RFP matrix
 screening matrix
 selection grid
 selection matrix
 solution analysis matrix
 solution matrix
 solution selection matrix
 solutions prioritization matrix
 source evaluation matrix
 source selection matrix
 strategy decision matrix
 supplier comparison matrix
 supplier evaluation matrix
 supplier rating spreadsheet
 supplier selection decision
 supplier rank matrix
 weighted criteria matrix
 weighted comparison matrix
 weighted decision matrix
 weighted decision table
 weighted prioritization matrix
 weighted project ranking matrix
 weighted score matrix
 weighted scoring matrix
Decision Matrix Activity
Should you be involved in creating a decision matrix, here is the activity you will be engaged in. Use the COWS method, shown below, that describes all the information you should come up with in order to make an impartial decision:
C  Criteria. Develop a hierarchy of decision criteria, also known as decision model. 

O  Options. Identify options, also called solutions or alternatives. 

W  Weights. Assign a weight to each criterion based on its importance in the final decision. 

S  Scores. Rate each option on a ratio scale by assigning it a score or rating against each criterion. 
Decision Matrix Example
For our decision matrix example, let’s consider the information below. Let’s say we’ve identified criteria C1, C2, and C3 playing a role in the final decision, with a respective weight of 1, 2, and 3. Moreover, we’ve found 3 prospective providers A, B, and C, whose offer may constitute a good solution.
Creating a decision matrix
It’s critical to rate solutions based on a ratio scale and not on a point scale. For instance, the ratio scale could be 05, 010, or 0100. Should you feel you must use a point scale (for instance, maximum speed, temperatures, etc.), you must then convert rating values on a ratio scale by assigning the maximum ratio to the estimated maximum value, which could be, for instance, 5 (for a 05 scale), 10 (010), or 100 (0100). Indeed, a point scale with high values introduces a bias even if it’s of less importance in the final decision.
We’ve laid out the information into a 2dimension, Lshaped decision matrix as shown below, and then compute the scores for each solution regarding the criteria with the formulas below:
Score = Rating x Weight
and then
Total Score = SUM(Scores)
The result is the following:
Scenario #1
ALTERNATIVES  
Option A  Option B  Option C  
CRITERIA  Weight  Rating  Score^{(1)}  Rating  Score^{(1)}  Rating  Score^{(1)} 
Criterion C1  1  3  3  3  3  3  3 
Criterion C2  2  2  4  1  2  2  4 
Criterion C3  3  1  3  3  9  2  6 
Total  6  4  10  7  14  7  13 
^{(1) }Score = Rating * Weight
For a better interpretation, we can visualize the data in histograms. To do so, let’s consider, as the data source, the ratings and scores of evaluated solutions. Here is the result:

WEIGHTS:
W1 = 1


Solution Ratings
When we sum up the ratings, both solutions B and C are equivalent and outperforming solution A. While similar globally, options B and C present different intrinsic strengths and weaknesses. Indeed, option B is better than option C for the criterion C3, but weaker on C2, while option C distribute more evenly its forces.
Therefore, Option B is usually called a bestofbreed solution, while Option C is a typical suite or integrated solution.
Let’s apply the weights to the ratings now to obtain the…
Solution Scores
While both options B and C were initially equivalent ratingly speaking, weights applied to their ratings exacerbate the strength of option B in criterion C3. Indeed, a higher weight was applied to its strength and a lesser to its weakness, resulting in a first place. In this particular context, the better the solution breed, the higher rank the solution gets.
We have here an interesting example of a battle opposing two alternatives at first sight equivalent, but one showing an explicit, differentiated strength against an other solution seeming spreading its strengths more evenly. Extrapolated, this battle is also called:
 The One versus The Best
 AllinOne versus BestofBreed
 Suite versus BestofBreed
 BestofBreed versus Integrated solutions
To solve this dilemma, there’s no answer. Rather, the answer is “It depends”. Indeed, depending on the contextual needs, one kind may be selected over the other. But, whatever the path chosen, the decision matrix won’t be of any help in this matter but raising the concern. You will have to decide what’s best for your organization’s future. You could even build a meta decision matrix to help you answer this question…
Let’s take a look at what would happen should your priorities change, and then find out the…
Importance of weight distribution in the final decision
In order to discuss about the relative importance or effectiveness of weights coupled with ratings in the final decision, let’s use the same aforementioned example and play with the weights, given the ratings won’t never change.
In the first scenario, the weights were distributed as 1, 2, and 3 respectively for criterion C1, C2, and C3. Let’s increase the second weight from 2 to 3. Here is the result:
Scenario #2
ALTERNATIVES  
Option A  Option B  Option C  
CRITERIA  Weight  Rating  Score^{(1)}  Rating  Score^{(1)}  Rating  Score^{(1)} 
Criterion C1  1  3  3  3  3  3  3 
Criterion C2  3  2  6  1  3  2  6 
Criterion C3  3  1  3  3  9  2  6 
Total  7  4  12  7  15  7  15 
^{(1) }Score = Rating * Weight

WEIGHTS:
W1 = 1


Solution Ratings
Based on an initial, fair, and impartial evaluation, the ratings don’t change since solution capabilities remain the same. In some cases we hope there’re rare, evaluators may be tempted to change the ratings to give a favor to a soillegitimately selected solution.
Then we obtain the new…
Solution Scores
Because they are globally equivalent in their ratings, and given identical weights, both options B and C are now ex aequo. But, still, as you may notice, their internal differences remain.
Now, let’s keep the second weight at 3, and decrease the third from 3 to 2. Here is the result:
Scenario #3
ALTERNATIVES  
Option A  Option B  Option C  
CRITERIA  Weight  Rating  Score^{(1)}  Rating  Score^{(1)}  Rating  Score^{(1)} 
Criterion C1  1  3  3  3  3  3  3 
Criterion C2  3  2  6  1  3  2  6 
Criterion C3  2  1  2  3  6  2  4 
Total  6  4  11  7  12  7  13 
^{(1) }Score = Rating * Weight

WEIGHTS:
W1 = 1


Solution Ratings
Ratings still don’t change, since the solution features and benefits are the same.
Now, let’s keep the second weight at 3, and decrease the third from 3 to 2. As a result, these are the new…
Solution Scores
While both options B and C were initially equivalent ratingly speaking, the new weights applied to their ratings inhibit what appeared to be a strength for option B in criterion C3. Indeed, a lesser weight was applied to its strength and a higher to its weakness, resulting in losing the first place in favor of option C. In this particular context, the more integrated the solution, the better its rank is.
Conclusion
Here is a recapitulation of the three scenarii with their respective weights:



So, be careful in your interpretation of the result you get using a decision matrix. Indeed, you have to question the validity of the path you took to reach the conclusion you found. To challenge each step of your decision cycle, some features like sensitivity analysis and robustness analysis are helpful.
FREE Decision Matrix Template and Example
Decision matrix template in Microsoft Excel (MS Excel)
A decision matrix template and a decision matrix example are provided in your FREE RFP Toolkit. The decision matrix template is a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that you customize based on your needs (criteria vs. alternatives). Thus it becomes a business object you can use not only in your RFP evaluation process which would be better called proposal evaluation process but, more generally, in any decisionmaking cycle.
The MS Excel decision matrix template spreadsheet contains, in fact, two worksheets:
 a decision matrix example worksheet,
 a decision matrix template worksheet.
Both Excel decision matrix template and example can be opened with any MS Excelcompliant application.
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