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Testing the Alternatives

Testing the alternatives is the sixth step in the decision making process. We are going to continue here first with some more excerpts from the book The Art of DECISION MAKING: 7 Steps to Achieving More Effective Results, by John D. Arnold...

  1. The possible need for more information
  2. Rate each alternative against each criterion
  3. Thinking "outside the box"
  4. Seek ways to combine characteristics of several alternatives to create a better solution.

You need to ask yourself the following questions:

"But what if, after you've taken those five steps, no Solution emerges as the clear winner? Or, what if several parties are involved in the decision and they disagree on the best Solution? Clearly, an objective standard is needed to measure or test the Alternatives.

"There is such a standard.

"Testing the Alternatives involves THREE STEPS.

  1. 1. "First, ask yourself how well each Alternative meets each Criterion. Using a 10-high scale, rate each Alternative the same way you learned to rate each Criterion. Just as you must have one or more Criteria that rate a 10, so you must have one or more Alternatives that rate a 10 against each Criterion. If no Alternative does a perfect job of satisfying a particular Criterion, the one that comes closest to doing so rates a 10.

  2. 2. "Second, multiply the rating of each Criterion by the rating of each Alternative.

  3. 3. "Third, add up the scores of each Alternative and compare the totals" (85).

"..rate each Alternative against each Criterion" (88).

Work "horizontally through the chart, asking, "Which Alternative does the best job of satisfying this Criterion? Why? Which does the next best job? Why?" (88).

You may need to seek more information about some of the Alternatives.

CRITERIA

ALTERNATIVE A

Vacation

ALTERNATIVE B

Stereo

Absolute

Requirements

Within $2000

Not an ordinary expense

 

Yes

Yes

 

Yes

Yes

Desirable Objectives

 

R

VxR

 

R

VxR

10 Something everyone in family can enjoy

Very high

10

100

High

8

80

8 Something lasting

2 to 3 wks

2

16

8 years?

7

56

6 Enjoyed frequently

Very low

2

12

Very high

10

60

5 Stimulating or creative

High

8

40

Stimulating but not creative

5

25

4 Action within three months

Very high

10

40

Very high

10

40

TOTAL PTS

   

208

   

261

Also consider "how to combine the characteristics of several Alternatives to create a better, more innovative Solution.

"Most of us tend to avoid the difficult and shun the unpleasant. Filling in the matrix forces us to make difficult judgments and keeps us from running away from unpleasant ones. It points out the areas where we need to develop data before we make a decision. It gives proper weight to a Solution that does a fair job on a major Criterion as opposed to one that does an excellent job on a minor Criterion. The process may sound complicated, but it is actually quite simple. It takes more time to describe than to do" (90).


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