Facing a tough business decision? Try a decision matrix.

A decision matrix makes options easier to assess by helping you assign numbers to each of the factors affecting your choice. Here is an example of a simple decision matrix I set up in an excel spreadsheet. Click on the image to see a bigger version.


free decision matrix spreadsheet


I simply put 3 or more options in the columns and then 5 or more factors that I want to apply to each option in the rows below. For example, if you were looking to decide between various mobile phones, you could include factors like:

  • Processor speed
  • Carrier availability
  • Memory
  • Warranty
  • Price
  • Accessories included

Then you would give each cell phone a rating in each category. I suggest rating them from 0-5 with 5 as the best. So the best price might be rated a 5. A close second might be 4 or 4.5 out of 5. A very high price might be from 0-2 on the rating.

Here is an example decision matrix I put together looking at three different information capture and management systems. Click on the image to see a bigger version.

sample decision matrix spreadsheet

As you can see, using a decision matrix gives you a NUMERICAL basis for your decisions. When you assign a number to all the factors, the best decision becomes clear.

TIP – Factor Weight with the Decision Matrix

if you have a factor that you want to give more weight to, rate it out of 10 instead of 5. This will double its influence on the totals. For example, when looking at task management software I doubled the value of the mobile app availability because it is critical that I be able to see my tasks on my smart phone.

TIP#2 – Intuition and the Decision Matrix

Trust your intuition? Me too. I often add my intuition about each option as a factor row in my decision matrices.

Free Decision Matrix Spreadsheet

Want to try this for yourself? I have uploaded both the blank and sample decision matrices pictured here in this free decision matrix spreadsheet. Download it to your computer and customize it for your own decisions.

If you want a coach to help guide you with your decisions, let me know.

– Garland Coulson, “Captain Time”