Decision Matrix Analysis

Decision Matrix Analysis - ToolsHero

This article explains the Decision Matrix Analysis in a practical way. After reading it, you will understand the basics of this powerful decision making method.

What is a Decision Matrix Analysis?

Within organisations it is not always easy to make the right decision with each other. Especially if a specific package of requirements is available and different factors must be taken into account. This means that a new contract for ICT support, for example, is not easily completed. It has to meet a lot of requirements, before choosing from different suppliers. A complete so-called ‘vendor rating’ package comes into play. Not only price, but also conditions, contract duration, support, service, expertise and training for the staff will be important values for making the right decision. The Decision Matrix Analysis is a simple answer to ensure that, when making the best decision, all these different factors are taken into account.

Alternatives of the Decision Matrix Analysis

This makes the Decision Matrix Analysis very useful for counting all the alternatives that exist in making the final decision. Especially when there is no clear preferred option, the Decision Matrix Analysis leads the facts that exist and the requirements that the organisation considers important. As a result, a good rational decision can be made, which all parties involved fully agree with.

Application of the Decision Matrix Analysis

The Decision Making Analysis is characterised by making the factors and the alternative choices visually clear. The horizontal rows show potential options and the vertical columns the different factors. Weights are added to these factors; the most decisive factor for the organisation is the highest figure. One may determine in advance that 1 counts as least important and increases up to 5 in gradation, which is considered very important. The following steps make the process clear:

Step 1: Drawing the matrix

On a large sheet of paper or on whiteboard, a matrix is drawn with an x number of rows and an x number of columns. All factors/criteria are placed in the rows; if there are 4 there will be 4 dedicated rows. All choices/options are then visualized in the columns; if there are 3 choices/options, then there are 3 columns.

Alternative setup Depending on the number of factors and options, you can also choose to flip the contents of the rows and columns. In that case, the factors are placed in the columns and the choices in the rows. In this explanation and the upcoming example, however, we will stick to the setup as mentioned in the previous paragraph.

Step 2: Assigning scores to each option

The various factors are now examined for each option. If a factor scores very well, there will be a 5 here. If a factor is very bad, a 1 is entered.

Step 3: Determining weightings

In this step, weightings are assigned to the different factors. If ‘contract duration’ is very important to the organisation, this will get a 5. If the price is less important to the organisation, this will receive a 1.

Step 4: Calculate weighted scores

The weightings from step 3 are then multiplied by the digits entered in the matrix in step 2. This will result in a weighted score.

Step 5: Calculate final scores

As a final step, all the weighted scores calculated in step 4 are added to the bottom of each column. The choice with the highest score wins. If there are two choice options with the same final score, the organisation would do well to re-examine the various factors and perhaps assign new weightings. From there, the matrix can be re-entered with only the two remaining choice options.

Decision Matrix Analysis example

In this example, an office considers it important that all 150 employees receive a daily supply of fresh fruit. This is not only tasty, but also provides energy and healthy nutrients. Management has already consulted with various suppliers and has come up with 4 possible options. In addition, management decided that there are a number of factors that should be considered and taken into account in the choice:

  • Budget € 3 per person per week = max. €450 per week (5)
  • Quality A; the best of the best, but ripe and instantly edible (4)
  • 2x delivery per week in 5 baskets; easy to distribute across departments and always delivered fresh (4)
  • Weekly list of options (2)
  • Payment options – 1x per month an invoice (2)

Behind each factor, management has set the relative weighting of importance, which is important later when making the decision; 0 = not important, 1 = somewhat unimportant, 2 = moderate, 3 = neutral, 4 = important, 5 = very important.

Management starts by drawing a table, in which the factors are included in the top of the columns and the various suppliers are placed in the rows, where they are potentially linked to the factors (package of requirements). A short explanation can also be included in the matrix:

Decision Matrix Analysis example - toolshero

Each supplier is given a figure that indicates to what extent the factor is met. This is to a degree of 1 (not at all) to 5 (excellent).

Decision Matrix Analysis template

Decision Matrix Analysis template
Decision Matrix Analysis template
Start listing and evaluating the alternatives you have and get to the best decisions with this ready to use Decision Matrix Analysis template.
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It’s Your Turn

What do you think? What is your experience with the Decision Matrix Analysis? Do you have any additions to the above? Are there tips or good experiences that you want to share with our readers?

Share your experience and knowledge in the comments box below.

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More information

  1. Belton, V., & Stewart, T. (2002). Multiple criteria decision analysis: an integrated approach. Springer Science & Business Media.
  2. Schott, J. R. (2016). Matrix analysis for statistics. John Wiley & Sons.
  3. Wang, J. J., Jing, Y. Y., Zhang, C. F., & Zhao, J. H. (2009). Review on multi-criteria decision analysis aid in sustainable energy decision-making. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 13(9), 2263-2278.

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Patty Mulder
About the Author

Patty Mulder is an Dutch expert on Management Skills, Time Management, Personal Effectiveness and Business Communication. She is also a Content writer, Business Coach and Company Trainer and lives in the Netherlands (Europe).
Note: all her articles are written in Dutch and we translated her articles in English!

2 comments

  1. In Step 1 of the application do you have the columns and rows the wrong way around? The factors in the graphic are in the rows and the choices are in the columns? Just an observation and want to make sure i am understanding it correctly. Thanks

    1. Hi Jack, thank you for your question. Step 1 is correct. If you follow the example in the article, you will see that the factors are within the rows and the choices are the head of the columns and head of the rows.

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