Facilitation Tools: Decision Grids

Decision Grids help to assess ideas based on set criteria. As a facilitation tool, decision grids resemble a simple matrix that organise ideas based on how likely they are to be effective. They can be particularly useful when seeking to bring some order to a random or unnecessarily complex debate.

When it comes to making decisions, many potential solutions are often discussed in relation to basic criteria. If we do this, how much will it cost? Budget is perhaps the most simple and obvious example when it comes to the evaluation of ideas, however there are a number of other key considerations. Time, labour, skill, achievability, return on investment are just a few.

How do you make the best decision? The solution that is most likely to be effective might also be the most costly. What is more important? Simply deciding what is important can often be a contentious issue, with lots of conflicting ideas from team members. Too many ideas can be a recipe for disaster as there is the chance of gridlock with no decisions made at all.

Here’s a template for a simple decision grid to help you prioritise what decisions could be made, how they could be implemented and, most importantly, how they could be evaluated:

1. Be clear about the problem that needs to be solved

2. Note down important considerations along the left side of the grid

3. Write all of the potential solutions along the top

4. Use a simple point scale to rate each of the solutions against each of the considerations and write the number in the box. (For example: If 1=Poor, 2=Fair, and  3=Good, you might give a solution that costs <£100 a score of 3 while a solution that cost £1,000 would rate a 1.)

5. Once the ratings are complete, add up the columns. The solution with the highest score ranks first to implement, second highest score ranks second to implement, and so on.

For more information on facilitation tools, check out our Infographic: Process Tools for Effective Meeting Facilitation

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