a problem to solve? This facilitator's guide to participatory decision
making will get you from problem to solution in 4 steps. With a
bit of guidance, groups can effectively evaluate alternative solutions,
systematically work out what trade-offs exist and agree a working
solution. Here are the four steps.
4 Step Guide to Participatory Decision Making
1. Develop decision criteria
2. Develop a scorecard
3. Evaluate the alternatives
4. Make the decision
Step 1 - Develop Decision Criteria
How do you make a decision? Usually there are some key factors or
criteria that are important and influence which option you choose.
Affordability or cost is one common factor, but there are many, many
more things that affect the choices you make.
Decision criteria are what a group uses to measure the feasibility
of the potential alternatives. Try to limit the number of criteria
- more doesn't mean better, it just means more. The most effective
decision making criteria are those that are critical to the problem,
communicate relevance to the business and create the most satisfaction
Return on Investment (ROI)
Net Present Value (NPV)
Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA)
Hurdle Rate or Internal Rate of Return (IRR)
Time to market
Degree of past success
one criterion carries more weight or importance than others. In
this case, the group should differentiate and rank the levels of
Essential: All these criteria must be met
High Priority: One or more criteria must be met
Important: Can be used as tie-breaker.
Step 2 - Develop a Scorecard
The second step is to develop a scorecard. Don't be tempted to skip
this stage even if you think it's complicated or time-wasting. Properly
done, a scorecard defines and describes the criteria measures, making
thought processes more transparent and memorable. In short, developing
a scorecard forces you to consider what is important and articulate
what you consider acceptable, or not.
Scoring mechanisms generally fall into one of three types;
Binary - requires a yes/no, either/or type answer
Quantitative - require a numerical answer
Qualitative - use words to describe the answer.
Rate of Return?
Rate of Return?
Key target market
impact to brand
Less desirable market
can combine the different scoring mechanisms as you require;
3 - Evaluate the Alternatives
The third step is to list your alternative solutions and evaluate
them against your criteria. Remember that your first alternative
is always to do nothing - change isn't always your best option!
At least for now.
1 - do nothing
4 - Make the Decision
The easy bit! All the hard thinking has already been done, now it's
time to see which alternative scores most favourably. Have all the
essential criteria been met? How many of the High Priority criteria
have been met? In the event of a tie, which of the important criteria
have been met? By now at least one alternative will be coming out
as a strong contender for the decision.
Before you start action planning based on the strongest alternative,
take some time away from the decision making process and "sleep
on it". If it still feels like the best way forward, then it probably
Although this decision making process is very systematised, by changing
a few criteria or changing the priority, you may come up with a
different conclusion. Sometimes what you think is essential is actually
merely important. Avoid changing the results to suit your favourite
alternative, but be open to reviewing the steps in the process and
the decisions made at each point, and amending if necessary.
This 4 step facilitator's guide to participatory decision making
gets you efficiently from problem to solution.
Enabling groups to make decisions generates buy-in and increases
the success of the solution. The more the process is used, the quicker
and more effective it becomes, until your group become a problem
Owner, Management for the Rest of Us
Citation Information: Swinton, Lyndsay. "From Problem To Solution in 4 Steps: Facilitator's Guide to Participatory Decision Making." Mftrou.com. 19 June 2007. < http://www.mftrou.com/facilitators-guide-participatory-decision-making.html >.
7 Brainstorming Rules & Techniques To Get More From Group
We all know that a camel was a horse designed by a committee –
right?!!. This perfectly demonstrates the unwritten law of business,
where the output of a group does not equal the sum of the individual
parts. Use these 7 brainstorming rules and techniques and be the
exception to the rule, get more from group problem and keep the
creative juices focused and flowing...
Making Psychology Made Simple
Understanding decision making psychology can enable you to reach
a conclusion quicker. Whether it's choosing a holiday destination,
or project to fund, you'll find this outline of decision making
psychology a useful addition to your management toolkit.