When brainstorming root cause with a cause and effect diagram, for instance. The team may come up with a large number of possible causes. You may not have the time and resources to investigate all of them, so you need to prioritize. You can also use this tool for other team decisions like selecting a process improvement or vendor. This tool might be used in the analyze phase when determining root cause. Or it might be used in the improve phase when selecting an improvement. It's easy to do a prioritization matrix in Excel. There's a little bit of math involved, so Excel simplifies that as well. In this first example, we'll use the tool to select the vendor from three possibilities. Across the top, the team will list their decision criteria. These are not predetermined, this is one of several team decisions that must be agreed upon as you use the tool. After discussion, the team decided that the most important criteria for this selection were cost, quality, flexibility and delivery. But cost, quality, flexibility and delivery are not of equal importance. So the team must decide how to weight these factors. We use decimals, but you can also use percentages. The team decided that quality was the most important factor and gave it a weight of 0.40 or 40%. Cost was 0.3 or 30%. Delivery was the next most important factor at 0.20 or 20%. And flexibility was weighted at 0.10 or 10%. Regardless of how many criteria you choose, the weights must add up to 1 or 100%. The next step is to rank order the options with the largest number being most desirable. The team determined that vendor C had the best price followed by vendor A, and vendor B was the most expensive. So since B was most expensive, it gets the lowest rating, 1. Vendor C was the most desirable price, so it's a 3. This is repeated for each criteria, each time you assign a ranking to the options based on the criteria. The team will have a conversation and reach consensus, this tool take some time. Once the options have all been ranked against all of the criteria. You'll multiply each ranking by the weight assigned for that criteria. For example, under cost, vendor A was ranked number two. So we multiply 2 times the relative importance of cost which is 0.3, the result is 0.6. Vendor B was the most expensive, so as a ranking of 1 and its score is 0.3. Finally, vendor C had the most desireable price. So its score will be the weight or relative importance times its ranking of three. So its score is 0.9 on the cost criteria. Repeat this for every option in each criterion. The multiplication and addition can be done more quickly and reliably, if you use Excel. Once you've created a score for each option against each criterion, you can add the scores for each option going across. The scores are shown in parenthesis. So vendor A is 0.6 plus 0.4 plus 0.3 plus 0.6 for a total of 1.9. Repeat this for each option, adding across. The highest total score is probably the most desirable choice. A caution about the prioritization matrix, is we go through the process we're assigning weights and ranks, multiplying and adding numbers. So this feels like it's quantitative, but it's really not. The team decides what those weights and ranks will be, so it's qualitated. The real value is in all of the team discussions. The team has to discuss and decide on what the criteria will be. The team will have another discussion to decide on what the weights will be. Then the team will have yet another discussion to decide how to rank the options. The real value in this tool is in these discussions. Through this process, the team gets a deeper understanding of the decision that it's making. Do not let the numbers make the decision. Sometimes a team after all this discussion will decide on the option with the second highest score. Because after all of the discussion, they may decide that the weighting or the rankings were not quite right. Let's look at another example. This time we're selecting which improvement option to give priority to. In this case, the team has chosen the following criteria and weights. The cost of the implementation is first, with a weight of 0.3. Speed of implementation is the most important because we want to be able to demonstrate some quick results to gain buy in, so it's weighted at 0.4. Complexity is probably closely related to speed but the team decided to include it. It's weight is 10%. Finally, the benefits of the improvement are weighted at 20%. When we ranked the options, the team felt that improvement 2 and improvement 3 were the same on speed. If there's a tie like this, use the value halfway in between. The team could not decide which was 1 and which was 2, so they ranked them both 1.5. Now we multiply the relative importance or weight times the ranking, just as we did before and add up the scores for each improvement option. Improvement number 1 had the highest score, since the difference between improvement 1 and improvement 2 is fairly close. The team might have some additional discussion about this. However since improvement 1 have the highest score on the most criteria and was no lower than second on any other. It seems likely that the team would choose this improvement. Remember, the team makes the decision, not the tool. The Pugh matrix was originally created to compare to design concepts. But it can be used to compare solutions in the same way as prioritization matrix. Lile the prioritization matrix, the team will determine which concepts or solutions to consider, and identify criteria. In this case, the criteria are cost, effectiveness, speed and quality. And the solutions are simply identified as the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. In this particular example, the options are in columns instead of rows. And the criteria are in rows instead of columns. With the Pugh matrix, one solution is selected as a baseline for comparison and all of the others are compared to it one by one. In this case, the team has selected solution number 3 to be the baseline. Each solution is compared with number 3 on each criteria. If number 1, for example, is better on cost then a plus sign is entered. If number 2 is worse than number 3, a minus is entered. If number 4 is determined to be the same, the letter s is entered. This comparison is continued until all of the cells are filled except for the baseline. When the table is complete, the pluses and minuses are discussed. For each solution, could a minus be turned into a plus though some change or improvement? Could features of different solutions be combined to get a more positive outcome? Like the prioritization matrix, the Pugh matrix is a vehicle for team discussions and decisions without feeling like a mathematical exercise. A relationship matrix is a table that demonstrates relationships. The house of quality in quality function deployment is a example. Symbols can be just to signify the strength of relationship. In the simplified example shown here, relationships between product or service attributes and the various processes that create them are shown. Note, that not every process is related to every attribute. A relationship matrix can have a variety of uses and can be customized to meet your needs.