Niwot Ridge Resources

A Source of Information for Mission Critical Systems, Management Processes, and Strategies

Non–Numeric Tools for Selection Criteria

The following are some of the techniques that can be used to support decision making processes. Many of these techniques have tools that support them. One source of tools can be found at MindTools as well as at Purdue University's Excellence 21 project.

SWOT Analysis - Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats; use the answers derived from this analysis, whether at the corporate of departmental level, to weigh the benefits of project proposals.

Balanced Scorecard Analysis – The balanced scorecard suggests that we view the organization from four perspectives, and to develop metrics, collect data and analyze it relative to each perspective of Learning and Growth, Business Process, Customer, Finance.

Multi–Voting – that reduces a large number of ideas to a smaller number of priority items. This technique helps the team reach consensus on the most important ones.

Prioritization Matrices – a group method for ranking options by weighted criteria, uses Nominal Group technique.

Decision Trees – Decision trees provide an effective method of decision-making because they:

  • Clearly lay out the problem so that all options can be challenged.

  • Allow the analysis of the possible consequences of a decision.

  • Provide a framework to quantify the values of outcomes and the probabilities of achieving them.

  • Help make the best decisions on the basis of existing information and best guesses.

Nominal Group Techniques – a method for ranking attributes by importance.

Criteria Matrix – a group method for determining feasibility or desirability.

Pareto Chart – A simple way to look at issues according to Pareto’s Law, which says that 20% of the participant’s account for 80% of the activity. Plot a bar chart showing activity by participant as a percentage of all activity. Order the bars left to right from largest to smallest. Draw a line where the bars on the left add up to about 80% of the total.

Risk Analysis – A structured approach to thinking through threats, followed by an evaluation of the probability and cost of events occurring. Weight overall risk for a project to compare with its overall benefits. The Project Portfolio should be balanced to avoid a high proportion of high-risk projects.

Paired Comparison Analysis – a technique to select the most important problem to solve, or the solution that will give the greatest advantage.

Thanks to Richard Peck of Altos Engineering for most of these sources.

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