Brainstorming · Paper

Decision-matrix method


Invented by Stuart Pugh the decision-matrix method, also Pugh methodPugh Concept Selection is a quantitative technique used to rank the multi-dimensional options of an option set. It is frequently used in engineering for making design decisions but can also be used to rank investments options, vendor options, product options or any other set of multidimensional entities.

A basic decision matrix consists of establishing a set of criteria upon which the potential options can be decomposed, scored, and summed to gain a total score which can then be ranked. Importantly, the criteria are not weighted to allow a quick selection process.

The advantage of this approach to decision making is that subjective opinions about one alternative versus another can be made more objective. Another advantage of this method is that sensitivity studies can be performed. An example of this might be to see how much your opinion would have to change in order for a lower ranked alternative to out rank a competing alternative.

Morphological analysis is another form of a decision matrix employing a multi-dimensional configuration space linked by way of logical relationships.

Example Of A Decision Matrix

This example of a decision matrix can help you get off the fence, quit procrastinating and make a decision.

You can first learn how it works with the filled in example. It is constructed so that you can input your own factors that effect your decision making process. You can change the alternatives, the titles and the weights. So anything that is in a gray box can be changed with your own opinion numbers. In the matrix results on the right column, you will get results that tells you what decision to make. It is a decision matrix that you can use over and over again. This is a way to chose between alternatives as outlined in Decision Making Model In Five Steps.  There is even a button to let you print out the results.

How It Works

Along the left hand side are listed all of the your possible decision alternatives. Next enter the determining factors that you are interested in along the top. You then need to decide the weight for each factor. The example shows safety risk as a 4 and management difficulty as a 2. This means that you feel that safety is twice as important a factor as management difficulty. The final entries are for your opinion(scale of 1-10) of what your opinion is of how a given factor affects a given alternative. Remember that negative factors are opposite. This means that for a negative factor such as safety risk, high numbers mean low risk. For a positive factor such as stability, high numbers mean high stability. The winner is the highest number in the totals column. You still may have to decide between 2 or more alternatives whose totals are the same or very close. However, you will have eliminated a whole lot of less desirable alternatives.

This example of a decision matrix gives you a logical approach to analyzing your decision alternatives. It is designed to give you full flexibility in developing a logical approach and printing your result.

Note: This rational decision making model is sometimes called the Pugh matrix.

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