What are the weaknesses of a Weighted Decision Matrix?

What are the weaknesses of a Weighted Decision Matrix?

The weaknesses of a weighted decision matrix include criticisms of how the options and factors involved are arbitrary or incomplete; how it can suffer from bias and that scoring methods can be manipulated. It is important to understand these limitations when using the tool to make an important decision.

What are the weaknesses of a Weighted Decision Matrix?
  1. When listing all the options to choose between there is no way of knowing whether there are any missing without having to consult widely and every eventuality considered. No-one can know everything and important options can be left out without realising.
  2. It is also possible to mislead others by deliberately presenting the weighted decision matrix as a scientific approach to a problem with no equal, and then leaving out options to be considered either on purpose or through personal bias.
  3. The list of criteria can be extended to include many factors that are related to each other or have limited impact on the decision to be made. In totality, these can add up to be as important or even more so than the most important factors leading to an inaccurate decision.
  4. A weighting mechanism that gives accurate relative weighting to all factors involved is difficult and often a subjective process. Giving a value from one to five to five different factors will not weight the most important factor correctly if it is of much more importance relatively. A scoring method to reflect this must be worked out e.g. scores of 1,2,3,4 and 10 may be more accurate.
  5. An objective approach to scoring using quantitative measurements is difficult to achieve in many scenarios and often overlooked entirely.
  6. A team approach to scoring can result in averages being used or the loudest voice listened to. Again, this is still a subjective approach.
  7. Ruling out options that have scored poorly overall can result in missing out on strengths they have on one or two factors. Opportunities to improve the winner against these factors by learning from the losers can be missed if they are dismissed too quickly.
  8. If an option completely fails against one factor, it needs to be ruled out as a possible winner early in the process or time could be wasted trying to make it work by others not aware of the failure against a Go/No Go criteria.

Whilst you’ll appreciate we love our weighted decision matrix template as a simple yet effective decision making tool, it is fair to say that it does have its weaknesses.  If you’d like to know more and you’re feeling academic then there is an excellent paper written by Douglas Hubbard and Dylan Evans.

How to improve the Weighted Decision Matrix?

To Improve Weighted Decision Matrix

We received an interesting question recently about how to use different range values in a weighted decision matrix and would welcome our readers thoughts in the comments below. Here’s the question (thank you Sam)…

The problem is that I want to be able to use different value ranges for each factor, but I am not exactly sure how to do that. I know of two possible solutions to this problem. One possible solution is to divide each score by the largest number in its value range (and then do the usual stuff–multiply the score by the weighting, add up the scores, etc.). Another possible solution is to add up each score in a factor and then divide each score by that sum (this is shown in the previous email’s video).

What I want to know is if you can help me find the best solution to this problem. Is the first possible solution correct? Or is it the second one? Neither? Both?

What do you think? Tell us in the comments below…

Who’s going to win the T20 Cricket World Cup 2012?

Cricket World Cup 2012

This post is a few years old now but still shows how a weighted decision matrix can be applied to a sporting event. Why not use one to assess the teams of today instead.

UPDATE: Congratulations to the West Indies team who had a magnificent tournament and beat Sri Lanka in the final to become World T20 champions. We should have had more faith!

The cricket T20 world cup has arrived and is now a permanent fixture in the cricket sporting calendar. Regarded once as a bit Mickey Mouse it is now a showcase for some of the most talented cricketers in the world. Games can be won and lost by individuals on fire, whoever can forget that half century off 12 balls by Yuvraj Singh!

We’ve put the main contenders through the decision matrix below and think we’ve picked the winners but frankly anything could happen and probably will! Have a go yourself, all the fields are editable and let us know who you think is going to win and why.

Sri Lanka are the hosts which is always an advantage and makes them one of the favourites. Cricketers such as Tillekeratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Lasith Malinga are experienced talents and match winners on their day but will the retirement of Murali leave them short of a bit of class in the spinning department?

With strength in depth as a direct result of the IPL, India are favourites for the tournament. Playing in conditions that will suit them and with MS Dhoni at the helm they will be confident. Dhoni is recognised as the best one day captain around and if India can get their selection right they will be hard to beat.

England are the holders but they have a huge Achilles heel in their inability seemingly to play spin. Destroyed by Saeed Ajmal of Pakistan last winter Graham Gooch the batting coach has implemented a rigorous practice routine to overcome this deficiency. Victory in a warm up match this morning over Pakistan will help with confidence but only to a degree as Ajmal took 4 for 14 and England only made 111. The other distraction for England will be the non-selection of Kevin Pietersen, a decision they could come to regret?

South Africa have it all, the best top 5 or 6 in world cricket, in fine form following test victories over England in the summer and a fantastic pace bowling attack with Dale Steyn ranked at number one in the world. They will be tough to beat but will the Sri Lankan conditions suit them?

My final tip is Pakistan for some of the reasons mentioned above plus they will like the conditions. They have a strong record in the competition, an excellent bowling attack, team spirit seems good at the moment (although that can often be their Achilles heel) and if the batsmen can get going they could power their way to the final.

Of the other teams I have left out, Australia look the best although their form has dipped from the huge heights we have been use to over the years. New Zealand and the West Indies look to be short of talent especially in the bowling department although Chris Gayle remains one of the top batsmen in the world in this format. Of the minnows, only Ireland look capable of an upset with possibly Australia on the end of it?

who is going to win the cricket world cup

What do you think? Use a weighted decision matrix template on excel to assess the options and tweet your friends to see what they think. Enjoy the tournament.

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