DecisionPad 4 More Product Features
Explicitly Represent Each Stakeholder's Position
Supply each stakeholder representative or evaluator with their own DecisionPad matrix. Since all the stakeholders views are compared within the same alternative/criterion framework any issues become clearer, specific and relevant.
Evaluators can enter their own views using any web browser by connecting to Apian's "balloting" cloud server to which you have uploaded their ballots.
When the ballots are downloaded into DecisionPad it will add a third-dimension to the matrix. There will be an alternatives-by-criteria sheet for each evaluator, plus a summary which averages the viewpoints. You can also look at alternatives versus evaluators for each criterion, or criteria versus evaluators for each alternative to gain insight. Participants in the decision need not try to keep track in their heads of who liked what for which reasons -- its all recorded in front of them.
Now, with full visibility of where the agreements and differences are, you can work through to a decision logically. Actually you may find that a good compromise emerges fairly naturally, but if it does not the discussion can be kept at the level of relevant objectives, requirements and ratings to minimize the impact of personalities.
Mathematically Rigorous Analysis of Complex Decisions
DecisionPad uses the mathematically-rigorous Multivariate Utility Analysis methodology. The approach has proven popular under many names, such as QFD – Quality Functional Deployment.
DecisionPad presents this method in way that is easily understood by non-specialists, and yet, is powerful enough to crunch the data for hundreds of Alternatives and Criteria, combining subjective and objective data and factoring in any uncertainties.
Focus on the Most Important Elements of a Decision
Nothing has as much potential for lost productivity as a meeting. With complex decisions, it helps to determine which elements have the strongest affect on the outcome and which would not.
- Each cell in the worksheet has an impact indicator showing how it affects the decision. There are four levels, showing things that have small/large positive impact on a ranking, and small/large negative impact. If there’s no indicator arrow, then the impact is minimal and does not merit lengthy discussion.
- Sensitivity Analysis: try hypotheticals and get instant feedback. Every time you make a change in the evaluation of a criteria or the weighting, DecisionPad instantly updates the rankings. It displays both the current ranking and the previous ranking, using sparks graphs for easy comprehension by all meeting attendees. If discussion is bogging down in a “good” vs. “very good” debate, switch the value. Everyone can see what happens – either your 2nd place contender 1 has a shot at 1st or it doesn’t. This will keep your meeting focused and effective.
- Uncertainty need not delay the decision. Many managers can be afraid to commit to a course of action when they don’t have “all the information.” DecisionPad allows you to see what missing information could change a result, and what won’t. Rankings are given as a range of values, and it’s instantly apparent when there’s possible overlap. Once you can illustrate and document that the frontrunner is still the winner no matter what the missing values are, you can stop collecting data and move on to implementation.
- Must-Have levels can be set for a criterion, such as the minimum square feet of office space. DecisionPad will disqualify any undersized alternatives from the ranking, but will still display their scores. This allows you to re-open discussion on the requirement if an otherwise winning deal might be fixed, perhaps by adding some off-site space.
Not Every Scale is a Straight Line
DecisionPad handles non-linear and non-monotonic utility functions with ease.
- Non-linear functions allow you to do risk-aversion analysis. Many times our sense of the value of a rating will not take an even slope, where a ranking of 1-5 gives something a value of 1-5 for analysis. We might instead feel that the values should be 1, 1.2, 1.9, 2.8, and 5 – a steep curve heavily weighted towards the best value standing apart from the pack.
- Non-monotonic functions are also known as “mid-point best” or “Goldilocks” criteria; when extremes are undesirable. 1 DecisionPad allows the creation of non-monotonic functions and calculates their effect on the overall decision.
Follow Your Own Path
The “tree/hierarchy” method of analyzing decisions is respected in academic circles, but these deep trees do not always provide people with clarity into the decision process and can be hard for non-academics to relate to.
DecisionPad provides a decision matrix worksheet that allows you to see many of the alternatives and criteria on a single screen. This is intuitive for most users and lets you see the entire decision at once, or focus on individual aspects without going down a rabbit warren of branches.
It turns out the two methods are largely different ways of presenting the same underlying mathematics, so if you prefer a tree/hierarchy layout, DecisionPad still makes that available to you by grouping the criteria into an outline multilevel structure as deep as you like. You can elect to set weights and subjective ratings by pairwise comparisions if you wish, with or without the grouping.
Different working methods are also supported in other areas of DecisionPad. For example, some decision managers prefer random pair-wise comparisons to set relative weights. Others prefer to use sliders, words (e.g. high to low) or numeric values. DecisionPad provides the ability to use any of these interchangeably.
Instead of imposing our favorite approaches, we’ve given options. Sliders, buttons, pairs, words, trees, matrices, and all of it sortable and manually editable.
Effective for Buy-In, Approval and Long-Term Documentation
Our software developers took the extra time necessary to make DecisionPad transparent and interactive which adds to its credibility as a decision facilitator. People new to it will make some simple changes and when the results go the way they expect, they will respect the results even when decisions are more complicated. Other software packages can be “black-boxes” which make people nervous.
In addition to the Matrix/Worksheet view, several customizable reports or “Views” are available to break out different elements of your project for analysis, to share with others in your organization, or to file away for when the decision is audited later.
DecisionPad is easy to explain, analytically powerful, and gives you the flexibility to collect and analyze data in the ways that work for you. Compare it to other appproaches at Why DecisionPad? or get the nitty-gritty specs at Specification Details.