5th Edition PMBOK® Guide–Chapter 8: Prioritization Matrices


1.  Introduction

There are seven quality management tools listed by the 5th Edition PMBOK® Guide as being tools & techniques of the process 8.2 Perform Quality Assurance.    The 5th tool out of these 7 tools is listed as prioritization matriceswhich aids the decision-making process by helping prioritize or rank various alternatives for implementation.

The prioritization matrix is also called the criteria matrix.   It can be used when deciding which Six Sigma projects to work on, in deciding which design features are Critical to Quality (as part of Quality Function Deployment using a tool called The House of Quality), or in making a decision with regards to any set of criteria such as the frequency, severity, and difficulty of dealing with a set of risks.

2.  Methodology of Prioritization Matrices

The table below outlines the typical methodology used in constructing one of these prioritization matrices.

Step Description
1. Develop Criteria These are the dimensions which you will use to analyze the various options. They should be listed on a row at the top of the matrix.
2. Determine Options What are the various options under consideration? They should be listed on a column to the left of the matrix.
3. Develop Weighting Each criteria should be assigned a numerical weight from 1 to 10, or some other similar scale.
4. Score Each Option Take each option and go across the list of each criteria, giving them a weighting from 1 to 10 based on the scale you developed in step 3. Each row should have the various weightings for each particular option across the various criteria.
5. Add up Columns Take the total scores for each column and each row. Sum up the columns and rows (check: they should be equal).
5. Rank Options Let’s say the total comes to 100. Then divide the total for each row by the total for the entire matrix, which will then give you a decimal ranking from 0.00 to 1.00 for each option. Rank each options with the highest decimal ranking at the top, and going downwards from there.  Or you can simply list the rankings on a numerical basis without the decimal conversion; it’s your choice.
6. Discuss Results Discuss the results of the exercise and make a decision based on the option with the highest score.

This tool is used only after the various options are clearly known, so it is best that this tool be used after some other brainstorming tool, such as multi-voting, the nominal group technique, or the Ishikawa or fishbone diagram, is used to identify those options.

The next post will cover the sixth out of the 7 quality management tools that may be used in process 8.2 Perform Quality Assurance, namely activity network diagrams or arrow diagrams.

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