Man at door

My sister is an engineer – and rather good at that. It pains me to admit it, speaking as her older brother, that she is a better mathematician than me too. Some of the calculations she does every day, I don’t understand. If she were to get them wrong, aeroplanes would fall apart. That said, I’m taller and can reach to get the biscuits out of the cupboard. Sibling comparisons aside, one thing she does very well is make many difficult decisions and find efficient solutions to nuanced problems. Figuring out which outcome is the most appropriate with regard to cost, aesthetics, longevity, stress point interactions and so on.

Maze

 

So when she saw me pawing over piles of documents from the various boards she stopped me, and introduced me to this:

matrix

It’s great. It makes decision making easier, or rather, it makes the process more collaborative. What is most remarkable for me is that you see the answers emerging as the process continues. You start to alter your scoring retrospectively to get the outcome you require. Let me explain how it works.

 

graph_v6

It is helpful if you try and limit or combine several similar criteria into a single criteria as much as you can – it makes the process much quicker.

You can then score each option within any given criteria out of 10. This all takes some time and debate, but it’s focussed and valuable.

Scales

 

You can then decide of those criteria, which are the most important. For example, is choosing the right exam for the students more important than for the staff? Is it twice as important? Or are they equally relevant? You can then add that to the weighting. After this, you can multiply the score for each criteria by the weighting and sum the column –the winner then emerges, based on all of the factors and the relative importance of those factors. That’s how a commercial airline makes its decisions, and that’s how we made our final decision about which board to choose.