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This simple tool makes it possible to reduce a list of several tens or hundreds of possibilities in a dozen to facilitate us the decision of the choice.

Introduction

This tool is used after a brainstorming where, for example, we arrive at a list of dozens of alternatives. The tool will allow us to reduce the list and facilitate the final choice that will be made via a decision matrix or the Pugh method for example. He is also called Nominal Group Technique.

This is typically the case of a creative meeting where we will generate several tens or hundreds of ideas. It is impossible to evaluate them as they are. We will use this tool to reduce this list to ten ideas that we can then evaluate and prioritize.

The method

1 – At first we will list all the possibilities we have. These possibilities can be solutions ideas, suppliers that we have to choose…

The tool is relevant from the moment we have more than 20 possibilities and we want to return to a list of ten to make a more precise evaluation.

2 – We will number them. This allows us not to be wrong in the evaluation, especially if several solutions have a close denomination.

3 – If many possibilities are similar, we will group them together with the help of affinity diagram.

4 – Decide in group how much will have to contain the final list. This list will be at least 1 and at most X. It depends on the context and the situation.

5 – Then decide how many items we “allow” to vote, which must be a maximum of 10. For example, a list may contain 20 possibilities, but we will allow each person to choose that 5.

6 – Each person then works on his / her side to choose the Y elements among the X possibilities, and will give them an order of priority by classifying them as 1 (the best solution, Y, the worst of the Y solutions). We will avoid the ex-aequo.

7 – Then, after a few minutes of reflection, the facilitator collects the data of each one and concatenates them. He goes in front of each possibility, write on the board the rank indicated by each person and build a list of this type :

 Alternative Rank 1 2, 3, 2, 3, 1 2 3, 1, 1, 4, 5 3 1, 2, 4, 2, 4 4 4, 5, 3, 1, 2 5 5, 4, 5, 5, 3

8 – We will then proceed to a first filter to eliminate the least interesting alternatives. This sorting is done via the table below.

 Number of people voting Eliminate the alternative if more than X people have identified it in the last position : 4 à 5 2 6 à 10 3 10 à 15 4 15 et + 5

9 – Then we are facing 2 situations :

1. Either the choice is clear because everyone has done a similar assessment.
2. On the contrary, there is a lot of dispersion in the votes : in this case, an exchange will have to be made, and we will be able to redo an evaluation, to reach an agreement and to make a decision.

To assess the disparity in votes, use the Friedman test.