Introduction To Pugh Matrix

When deciding between different designs, you want to base your decision on rational arguments instead of subjective preferences. One methodology of establishing a procedure to select the best option from multiple available options is Pugh Matrix, also known as the decision matrix, selection matrix, problem matrix, opportunity analysis, criteria-rating form, or criteria-based matrix.

The name "Pugh Matrix" comes from Stuart Pugh, the inventor of the Total Design Methodology. Initially, Pugh Matrix was used mostly in the field of engineering, but it’s since been used to aid investment analysis, vendor ranking, product and service analysis, and so on. Being part of Six Sigma, Pugh Matrix usually follows the Voice of the Customer analysis and Quality Function Development for product planning.

Pugh Matrix in a Nutshell

Pugh Matrix is defined as a criteria-based methodology for determining which of several available options or solutions is the best one and should be selected. The available options are compared based on a certain set of criteria with each scored based on its performance.

As such, Pugh Matrix allows business analysts to conveniently organize criteria in a structured way, and it also facilitates a team-based process for controlled and deliberate concept generation.

How to create a Pugh Matrix

These are the typical steps to creating a Pugh Matrix:

  1. Construct a Pugh Matrix template: There are many pre-configured Pugh Matrix templates available for download online. If none of them suit your needs or you would like to create one from scratch, Excel is the perfect tool for the job. Usually, all criteria are placed on the left column, the present goes in the second column, the first alternative goes on the third, the second on the fourth, and so on. You can list as many alternatives as you want.
  2. Establish your criteria: The next step is to list all the criteria that are relevant for the organization and the customer. They can include anything from reduced costs, long-term benefits such as maintainability to anything else that you feel should be considered in selecting the best available option.
  3. Give every criterion a score: Give every criterion a score based on its importance. The more important a criterion is, the higher score it should get, and vice versa.
  4. Identify all viable solutions: Once you have all the criteria on which you would like to base your decision-making process, start listing all the possible solutions. Don’t impose any limits on yourself during this step. Instead, approach it as a brainstorming session and let ideas fly and flourish.
  5. Score potential solutions based on every criterion: This is the fun part and the real essence of Pugh Matrix. Using your criteria, score every possible solution to see how it compares to other proposed solutions.
  6. Select the best solution based on its total score: Once you’re done scoring every potential solution, you should clearly see which has emerged as the best one.

Have you used this technique before? Please leave a comment below.