How to choose from some options

24 Aug 2019 | Agile Culture

Sometimes I run into this situation: I am asked to help a group of people decide between a few options.

Here’s the step-by-step that I usually use to help with the decision process.

1. Define the criteria

I ask the participants to individually write all the criteria they consider for making the choice. Then we group the similar criteria and create a unique list of criteria.

For example, my family is currently looking for an apartment to rent. Following is the generated list of criteria:

  • number of rooms
  • rooms size and brightness
  • couple’s suite
  • number of bathrooms
  • kitchen quality
  • apartment size
  • laundry area
  • external area
  • parking space

2. Decide the value scale for each criteria

Promote a conversation among participants about the value scale for each criteria.

For example, in my family we love to be in the kitchen, so I suggested the “kitchen quality” scale from 0 to 10. Since we don’t have a car (but an outdoor bike area would still be interesting), we decided to use the “parking space” scale from 0 to 3.

3. Create an options x criteria table

Create a table of options x criteria as illustrated in the image below.

4. Grade the criteria for each option

For each criteria, compare the options, giving grades for each one.

5. Calculate the total score

Add all the grade values ​​of the criteria for each option and write the total score.

6. Talk about the result

By now, most likely, everyone will be looking for the option with the best result.

Have a conversation about what the numbers show. And confirm that everyone agrees with the result.


Paulo Caroli

Paulo Caroli is the author of the best-selling book “Lean Inception: How to Align People and Build the Right Product” (the first on a series of books about Lean Strategy and Delivery). He's also the creator of , a site and book about retrospectives, futurospectives and team building activities. Caroli writes on this blog frequently. Receive the next post in your email. Sign up here .

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