The long and unusual site on leadership decision making, hosted by Prof. Hossein Arsham describes a tool to help make decisions: grid analysis. According to Arsham, it is most effective where you have a number of good alternatives and many factors to take into account when you evaluate those alternatives. I have used this technique to rank law firms who have responded to a competitive bid RFP.
First list your options and then the factors that are important for making the decision. Lay these out in a table, with options as row labels and factors as the column headings.
Next, rate the relative importance of the factors in your decision by assigning each a number. You use these numbers to weight your preferences by the importance of the factor. These values may be obvious – if they are not, use a technique such as Paired Comparison Analysis to estimate them (See my post of Aug. 28, 2006.).
Thereafter work your way across your table, scoring each option for each of the important factors in your decision. Score each option from 0 (poor) to 3 (very good). Note that you do not have to have a different score for each option – if none of them are good for a particular factor in your decision, then all options should score 0. Now multiply each of your scores by the values for your relative importance. This will give the scores an adjusted weight. Add up these scores for your options; the option that scores the highest is the best.