Grid Analysis

Grid Analysis
••• Image by, courtesy of Robert Nunnally

You have decisions to make in life. Sometimes, it seems like there are just too many options to choose from. What you might not know is that there is a technique called "grid analysis" that might be able to help you. It is also known as the "decision-making process grid," the "Pugh Matrix" and many other names--all with the same intention. Whether you are buying a car or just deciding where to go on vacation, grid analysis will help you make the right decision.


Grid analysis is a technique that can help you take your options into account, factor in the details and come out with the right choice. Best of all, you will only need a pen and a piece of paper. If you want to take a vacation but cannot decide where to go, using grid analysis can help you look at your options and show you why you came to your decision.


Use grid analysis by making a table on a sheet of paper. Write your options as the labels on each row. If you are deciding where to take your vacation, then you would write a possible destination next to each row on the table. If you are deciding between Cancun, Orlando, San Francisco and New York City, for example, then you would make four separate rows. Next, make each factor a label to each column. For example, the factors in deciding where to go on vacation might be cost, weather, restaurants and hotels. Now, move down each column and rank the factors from 0 to 5, based on each option. If New York City has the best restaurants, then it gets a "5." If you dislike the weather there, then that might get a "0" or a "1." When you are finished, add up each row and find out which option had the highest score.


It is possible that certain factors are of more importance to you than others. If this is so, you might have to weight the rankings differently. For example, cost might be twice as important to you when taking a vacation than restaurants are. If this is so, multiply each ranking in the cost column by "2." Go through the factors before you start ranking and decide the importance of each. It will help make the outcome the right one for you.

Multiple Opinions

There are few decisions in this life that you will make completely on your own. Returning to the vacation example, let us say you have three other people traveling with you. To make sure everyone is happy, each should fill out her own grid analysis table. Take the final score of each destination from all four people and add those scores together. Divide that number by four. Do this for each destination and see where the group as whole would most like to go.


Grid analysis works by giving you a chance to focus on the big picture when making a decision. Sometimes, it is easy to focus on one or two factors, but really, the other factors are just as important in making the decision. Make a table. It is simple and quick. You might find out that your initial opinion was right in the first place, but at least you will know for sure.