Use A Scorecard to Simplify Complex Decisions

by Jeff Antos



When a team is making a decision based on the evaluation of numerous options, a scorecard can be an invaluable tool. For example, on more than one occasion, we have used a scorecard to facilitate a software vendor selection decision. Scorecards:

  • Force the team to think about and agree upon its selection criteria.
  • Increase objectivity in decision-making.
  • Invite others to review why decision was made.
  • Speed up the process.
  • Give the group confidence after the decision is made.
  • Provide a great presentation tool when explaining the decision.

To create a scorecard matrix, we need two lists: selection criteria, and possible options. As shown below, criteria for each option is graded A, B, C, D or F; letter grades are universally easy to understand and compare.

For example, Joe, the procurement manager, has to lease a fleet of new cars for a sales force of 100 representatives. When he leased cars four years, ago it seemed that no one was happy with his choice. This time he has decided to use a scorecard to make a better decision. His scorecard is shown in the diagram:

In the example, the criteria are not weighted in any way. Although we have worked with teams that have used a weighting system, we find that complex mathematics generally does not facilitate the decision making process. The real value of the scorecard is the ability to compare all options and criteria on one page. This is especially valuable when making team decisions.

Finally, the scorecard is a great communication tool which can be used to share your decision-making logic. With just this one page, any audience will understand how you arrived at your decision.

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