When meeting a problem that is huge, overwhelming, and complex, the use of tools and techniques can aid in tackling the problem (Mind Tools, 2006). Many tools available give one a starting point in working on a problem. Without the availability of the tools, a proper assessment of alternatives may not be explored.
A criteria matrix, also known as a grid analysis or Pugh matrix, is a useful technique when one has number of suitable alternatives with many factors to consider (Mindtools, 2006). This tool will help one decide what alternative is the best alternative by rating criteria against the solution. The criteria matrix will help one compare different concepts, show the stronger and weaker concepts, and determine the best concept.
The best time to use a criteria matrix occurs when a list of options must be narrowed to one, when several criteria are present for each option, and after the list of options is reduced to a manageable figure.
Situations this tool can work best in are when one problem must be worked on, when only one solution can be implemented, or when only one new product can be developed (ASQ, 2004).
The first thing that is necessary to accomplish is to decide what options are being considered and what factors are important. Brainstorming is helpful in this step. Involving all parties concerned will help also. The factors are shown as number values. The importance of the factors is then determined and given a numerical value. These values are usually a score of zero to five, with zero being the lowest, but some matrixes use zero to three or zero to nine (Mindtools, 2006).
Below, in figure 1, is an example from the American Society for Quality. In this example, a restaurant is attempting to decide how to solve...