No matter the industry or domain, there will be times when we need to quickly make a management or technical decision. Decision matrix allows us to compare a range of solutions to a defined set of criterion. A quick and easy tool to accomplish this assessment is the decision matrix, of which there are two varieties, the non-weighted decision matrix and the weighted decision matrix. The non-weighted is the quickest though the two are not much different. We will, in a later blog post, discuss the weighted version often referred to as the Pugh Matrix.
To create the table, we need a few of things. First we need to know what we are trying to do, our objective. Second, we will need to generate approaches that we think will allow us to reach those objectives. Thirdly, we will then need to identify desirable attributes of a successful implementation. Finally, we will compare the approaches to the desired attributes and select our method.
Approaches for consideration in the matrix
Once the desired objective has been articulated and explained to the players, we can begin to generate ways we think can meet this need or demand. Experience suggests brainstorming or similar activity can produce some interesting possible solutions. We do not want to cull the ideas just yet, but ultimately we will prioritize the most promising though the only real limit is the number of cells in the spread-sheet.
Attributes for consideration in the matrix
Once we have a number of solutions we believe that may produce the desired results, we will need the list of attributes to which we compare the ideas. Those attributes can be things like cost, quality, time to deliver, risk or any other attribute. We will compare the approaches to each of these attributes using a numbering system. That numbering system can be a simple 1-5 or perhaps 1-100.
In this instance, we are comparing the proposed solutions against typical risk areas that have have been witnessed in the verification of the electrical / electronic system of a vehicle. We see problems like vehicle dependency, that is the vehicle is available for testing at the time the embedded software and hardware are available. A dedicated vehicle in this instance means the vehicle is available whenever the numerous software and hardware components are available.
We will go through each of the rows assessing the approach against the attribute. The better the approach satisfies the attribute, the higher the number. The higher the number (or score), the better the proposed solution meets the objectives. This qualitative evaluation is quick and can help understand the most likely approach to succeed.