The illustrated prioritization and decision process

Set the objective

Start your prioritization with an unambiguous objective that all participants accept.

In this example:

”Find the best form of ground transportation from our London office to customers within the perimeter line on the map.”

If nobody questions the objective, it may be too general and “likeable”. A more specific objective will provide direction from start.

Identify your criteria

Kick-off your decision with a criteria brainstorm. The list is very important so make sure all relevant parties are represented.

Think of the criteria as the ”value definitions” i.e. any quality or feature that adds value to your organization in this particular respect.

Do not pick or prioritize at this point but focus on the understanding of each criteria and continue until all criteria have been identified.

Build your criteria hierarchy

Now, take a closer look at your criteria. Are all of them unique and distinctive or do some of them group logically together?

If all criteria are unique, simply use them as is.

If you have logical sets of criteria then group related criteria under a descriptive top-level criterion.

For a single decision workshop, try to keep your criteria hierarchy within a 7x7 matrix.

Avoid disorderly discussion

So far, the process has been familiar and now you are ready to prioritize. But this is when arguments and opinions starts bouncing around and the quality and direction of the discussion may be difficult to manage.

PairWise will keep your dialogue on track with a series of specific questions for all participants to answer and discuss. Meanwhile, the system will manage the necessary documentation.

Prioritize the criteria

A perfect prioritization will find the exact importance of each criteria relative to all other criteria.

To achieve this result, all participants will rate the criteria on a well defined scale using pairwise comparisons.

The ratings will make it clear if participants agree or have differences of opinion. If they agree, move on. If not, discuss, listen, learn and maybe adjust answers.

Examine the calculated weights

When the comparisons are completed, a weight is calculated for each criterion (from a total of 100 points).

By stacking the weighted criteria in descending order, you may find that a subset of criteria represents most of your business value.

Also, criteria generally considered “important” sometimes become less significant after being compared to other criteria.

Identify your alternatives

Sometimes, the alternatives (or options) are known or available from the start.

This may influence the identification of criteria, so remember that the criteria defines the value you need, not just what you can get.

In other scenarios, the list of alternatives will not be put together until the criteria have been prioritized so their relative importance is known and can be taken into consideration.

Evaluate your alternatives for each criteria

Now you need to find out exactly how well each alternative performs on your prioritized criteria.

To do this, the participants will evaluate the alternatives in pairs against one criterion at the time, for instance ”with respect to the criterion Comfort, which is better, the car or the taxi?”

Again, when you agree, simply move on. When not, discuss, listen and learn.

Examine the calculated scores

Based on your prioritization of criteria and evaluation of alternatives, you will now know exactly how well each alternative scores on each criterion (value definition).

Of course, a good score is only relevant if the product or service comes at the right price. But to recognize what the right price is, you had to first identify the value to your organization. So now, you’re ready to decide!

Make your decision based on value/cost ratios

Each alternative is now being displayed in a value/cost matrix.

Remember, all alternatives are evaluated against your specific needs, so don’t be surprised, if the most expensive product or service is not the best option for your organization.

In this case, choosing the carshare alternative (maybe combined with a few bikes) appears to be the optimal decision.