Rapid scoring of alternatives

Everyone wants to make quick, high quality decisions.  It’s important to find a balance between “analysis paralysis” and “speed kills”.  For example, I encourage the folks that I mentor to take their time when defining criteria; understanding their stakeholders’ needs, walkaway points (must limits) and priorities is crucial to a high quality decision.  The best way to save time on this step is to start from a proven criteria pattern so all you have to do is “personalize” each factor to match your circumstances.

To save time, I recommend a very rapid scoring “first-pass” through the alternatives.  This captures your initial judgments about the relative effectiveness of the alternatives against each factor.  It also highlights when you need to do additional homework.

The Decision Driven® Solutions Framework (DDSF) is designed to encourage this rapid scoring process.

Target Markets - Evaluate Alternatives in DAT

Users can simply drag an alternative icon into an appropriate scoring band and then capture a few “notes to self” to record the “why” behind their scoring judgment.  For a typical decision (10 criteria, 4 alternatives) these 40 scoring judgments can be easily done in 20 minutes as a first pass through the evaluation.  This will uncover areas for additional research; focusing the user on the most important “unknowns that need to be known” to make a confident decision.

Because the criteria have been previously weighted by dropping them into priority bands, users know they can spend less effort when scoring against the low priority factors; they are less likely to drive the decision.  This helps them avoid a “one-size-fits-all” mechanical approach to scoring that seems to be fostered by “spreadsheetitis”.

I then recommend a quick sanity check on the initial scoring pass.  We provide a Compare Alternatives (Tornado Chart) tool that highlights the relative advantages/disadvantages (pros-cons, strengths-weaknesses) between any pair of alternatives.   Seeing their scoring judgments visually helps identify whether the decision is a “slam dunk” (all the factors point toward the same answer) or a toss-up that hinges on careful understanding of a few drivers.

Tornado chart #1_target markets decision

Users can click on any bar to see their scoring rationale and determine whether additional homework is justified to refine and confirm their judgments.

Leverage the simple, yet powerful evaluation capability of the Decision Driven® Solutions Framework (DDSF) to help you rapidly and efficiently score your alternatives. Get started with your free trial of DDSF by contacting the Decision Driven® Solutions team at trial@decisiondriven.com or solutions@decisiondriven.com.

About decisiondriven

Innovator in Decision Management, Systems Thinking and System Engineering methods and tools
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