Decision Matrix Analysis

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Engineering Areas
Assessment & evaluation, Ideation & Conceptual design
Group or individual
Group, Individual
Amount of people
Up to 15
Type of activity
Collaborative team setting, Self-work by students
Duration
Half an hour or less
Type of class
Practice-based

Description

What is this technique about

Decision Matrix helps engineers grade ideas on their own. Evaluation with different criteria gives the first estimate of the ideas available. The Decision Matrix Analysis provides benefits in decision making. It is effective when there are many good alternatives to choose from and different options to consider.

Where does it come from 

Decision Matrix Analysis is a simplified version of Multiple Criteria Decision Analysis (Decision Matrix Analysis, Mind Tools).

For which purposes it is used (why in your engineering teaching)

Each idea is assigned a value that corresponds to the criterion, e.g., feasibility: a high value means the idea is feasible, a low value means the opposite. Instead of the matrix, a coordinate system (XY) can be used on which the criteria can be plotted. In addition, the degree of criteria compliance can be assessed. Each idea is assigned a value, e.g., feasibility: The idea can be  implemented in case of a high value; however, if it is low, the opposite result occurs. A coordinate system (XY) with criteria can be used instead of a matrix. Additionally, the degree of criteria compliance can be evaluated.

It is advantageous in facilitating the consensus of the work-team, structuring the decision-making method, reducing the impact of “hidden agendas” by allowing decision criteria to emerge.

How to use it

To start using Decision Matrix Analysis, you first need to create a table. List your options on the lines on the table and place the factors you need in the columns. This will help you consider your options and needs. After this process, score each option/factor combination and weight the score you get relatively. Finally, add up the points you get to give each option an overall score.

How to implement this techniques online

Preparation, what do before the session

    1. Make sure that your students all have access to the online collaboration tool you will be using. Whiteboard could be an efficient tool for this purpose.
    2. You can get help from online tools/websites such as Roobrix or Rubistar that will help you prepare functional tables during your evaluation process – but make sure that everybody in class will have access to this. An alternative is a shared Excel table.
    3. Consider the criteria for evaluating the ideas. Determine how many points can be distributed in what ways.
    4. Then choose the ideas matrix with criteria or variation coordinate system and prepare a template and upload it (distribute the link or information on how to access it).

During application, i.e., while giving the session

    1. Introduce the purpose and process of the exercise.
    2. Guide students to the rating tool and explain it to them. Explain the rating criteria.
    3. Ask students to score the factors between 0 and 5 (0 means the weakest and 5 means the best).
    4. Rank the options according to their importance. Visualize the options.
    5. Multiply each score you get by the factor weight to show its contribution to the general election and find the result of the total scores for each option (probably you will need to send the students into a break to do the calculations). The highest score means the best option.

Follow-up, about what to do after the session

    1. Study the evaluation system with your students. Determine how many points can be distributed or which color stands for which idea. Evaluate the matrix or coordinate system. Are there any trends or favorites? Ideas that receive many points may be further developed.

Examples and/or testimonials

The below is an example of how the method was prepared and facilitated in February 2021 by a student group during the course “Megatrends and Technological Innovation” held by Prof. Dr. Patricia Wolf at the University of Southern Denmark.

Facilitator instruction guide

Decision Matrix – Time schedule (15 minutes)

Closing phase part 2, Kilian & Josef

Upload the decision_matrix file to the group folders before the workshop

10:55 – 10:58:  Introduction and Explanation of the Decision Matrix (3 min.)

    • Purpose of the exercise (final rating of the scenarios)
    • Individual exercise (each participant has their own sheet in the excel file)
    • Where to find the excel file

10:58 – 11:00:  Time for the participants to find the excel file and their own sheet (2 min.)

    • In their Group folder in Teams

11:00 – 11:05:  Time to rate the different scenarios in the document (5 min.)

    • Play some music so the participants can’t talk to each other (Josef and Joscha)

11:05 – 11:10:  Finalizing the decision matrix (5 min.)

    • Share our own screen for the overall results
    • Summary (talk about the best/worst rated scenarios)

Decision Matrix Method, HYDAC Challenge, 2021, group 8

ScenarioOverall rating
1. Flexible tasks outside organizational boundaries21,6
2. Freedom, creativity, remote, responsibility, synergy20,3
3. Technology allows for cultural diversion20,1
4. Motivation through team building21

Example of a participant individual rating, HYDAC Challenge, 2021, group 8

Scenario“WoW-Effect”FeasibilityEffortOverall rating
1. Flexible tasks outside organizational boundaries107825
2. Freedom, creativity, remote, responsibility, synergy98724
3. Technology allows for cultural diversion89724
4. Motivation through team building78823

Tools needed

To apply this technique in an online setting, the following tools are required.

    • An assessment tool
      • Roobrix (paid)
      • Rubistar (free)
      • Proprofs (basic version free)
      • Using these tools for this method will benefit you. These tools will help you to create functional tables. An alternative is a shared Excel file
    • A video/audio conferencing application – such as MS Teams, Google Meet or Zoom.

Resources

Links

Recursos en project management (2020, May 31). Matriz de Decisión en Proyectos: Aprende a SACARLE partido. Recusos en project management. Retrieved October 12, 2022, from https://www.recursosenprojectmanagement.com/matriz-de-decision/

Emerald Works Ltd. (“By the Mind Tools Content Team”). Decision matrix analysis: Making a decision by weighing up different factors. Decision-Making Skills from MindTools.com. Retrieved October 12, 2022, from https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTED_03.htm

Videos

MindToolsVids. (2018, September 19). Decision matrix analysis: How to make a good decision by weighing up different factors. [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved October 12, 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xO7xJ1sTyPI

officialbuffalostate. (2010, March 17). Applying creativity: Evaluation matrix. [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved October 12, 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZO5ou7G5HYM

Beginning Engineers. (2017, April 25). Beginning engineers decision matrices. [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved October 12, 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUGuzZN7LLA

Papers

Jason Team. (2016). Engineering Design Decision Matrix. JASON Learning. Online at https://jason.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/JASON-Learning-Decision-Matrix-Engineering.pdf

Books

Vianna, M., Vianna, Y., Adler, I. K., Lucena, B., & Russo, B. (2012). Design thinking: inovação em negócios. Design Thinking.