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Pugh Matrix

Know all about Pugh Matrix (Decision Matrix)

In today’s business world, be it any department or of any hierarchy, individuals and teams need to make decisions that would best suit their requirements. But with a plethora of resources available in the market today, sometimes it becomes difficult to gauge and narrow out a specific solution. Sometimes the decision taken can turn out to be of good value, while sometimes it won’t.

It then becomes obvious for individuals and teams to not rely on a hunch by making decisions and waiting to go their way. Rather they require a process in which they can track down the best viable option using statistics, reasoning, and feedback.

The process we are talking about here is — Pugh Matrix (also known as Decision Matrix) — developed by a British product designer — Stuart Pugh.

What is Pugh Matrix?

Pugh Matrix is a qualitative technique used to rank the multi-dimensional options of option-set. It is majorly used in engineering processes to make design decisions. The technique is extensively used in other segments as well, like, investment options, vendor options, product options, or any other multi-dimensional entities.

To ease up the understanding, Decision Matrix refines a list of ideas using a process to weigh and compare the conceptual ideas. It’s similar to the Pros/Cons list (with numbers). You basically use Pugh Matrix when-

  • A current process requires redesign or improvement
  • A current solution doesn’t meet the customer’s requirement
  • Choosing best of combinations/characteristics/concepts

Types of Pugh Matrix:

  • Weighted Pugh Matrix – Assigns an order of importance to each criterion.
  • Unweighted Pugh Matrix – Considers all criteria of equal importance.

Let’s go practical with Pugh Matrix

To give you a short example, let’s say you bought a new phone last week. It’s obvious that you had already checked multiple options before deciding. The decision process is exactly what the Decision Matrix does. It takes every solution on paper and it charts down the best quality in each of them by giving out points — -1, 0, +1.

Example 1 – Unweighted Pugh Matrix

An unweighted decision matrix consists of 4 components:

  • Criteria – A qualitative component to help create meaning on how options compare relative to each other.
  • Options – These are the possible choices one can make.
  • Values – There are 3 possible values — -1 (below average), 0 (average), 1 (above average).
  • Total – The final score derived from calculating the values.

Let’s take the phone example and use it in the Unweighted Pugh Matrix

CriteriaOption 1 – AppleOption 2 – SamsungOption 3 – NokiaOption 4 – One Plus
Quality Assurance+10-1+1
Customer Support00+1-1
Customer Usage+1+1-10

Determining the value of Unweighted Pugh Matrix

Here, you can see Apple & Samsung are of equivalent values. While for the rest, you can clearly decide on the values you got. This is where the Unweighted Pugh Matrix falls off.

The value of the Unweighted Pugh Matrix lies at the intersection of simplicity and clarity. But at the same time, the reasoning is lost in the execution process. While all the criteria are important, some are more and some are not. Some criteria might be in high demand, some might not be! In the above process, we cannot decide what value each criterion has of its own.

This is where the Weighted Pugh Matrix takes the show away.

Example 2 – Weighted Pugh Matrix

In the weighted pugh matrix we add a new component next to the criteria. The column will hold the value of each criterion, giving us an in-depth understanding of which parameters are important and which are not.

CriteriaCriteria WeightOption 1 – AppleOption 2 – SamsungOption 3 – NokiaOption 4 – One Plus
Quality Assurance2+10-1+1
Customer Support100+1-1
Customer Usage3+1+1-10

Determining the value of Weighted Pugh Matrix

Here, you can see how the tables have turned. Apparently, by giving a specific criteria weight, Samsung turns out to do as well as One Plus. The further process is to determine which factor you want more from the category and make the decision accordingly.

By using the 10-base system, we show what percent of weight each criterion holds. For example, Customer usage has a weightage of 30% while Customer support has 10%.

Pugh Matrix and Six Sigma

Pugh Matrix is often associated as part of a technique in Six Sigma (a methodology used to eliminate defects in solutions/services). Both of these techniques are not inherently linked, but support each other in a way or another.

The Six Sigma methodology addresses building on processes by defining, measuring, analyzing, improving, and controlling (DMAIC process). Pugh matrix is heavily used in the defining stage and finds its way waning throughout the process. After all, when you are asking to define a problem, what better way other than the Pugh Matrix?

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