There are four main decision-making process steps: understand, evaluate, fuse, and decide what-to-do-next. The full process is developed in Making Robust Decisions. These four are key to making a decision regardless of the specific method followed.
Step 1: Understand the Issue
An issue is called action directed at some object or process. It can be worded as a question "Which new product should we develop first?" or as a statement, choose a vendor from the proposals submitted. In order to understand the problem you must clarify the issue, generate alternatives that resulted and develop criteria or attributes of the alternatives that will be used to evaluate and compare the alternatives.
Care in how to frame a decision is critical for reaching a decision. Sometimes, only during step 2 or when reaching step 3 it becomes evident that the issue is not well understood and not framed properly.
Step 2: Evaluate the alternatives relative to the criteria
In most problems some of the evaluation is qualitative and some quantitative. Quantitative evaluations require running analytical simulations, taking tests measurements, or finding some other way to measure how well the alternatives meet the targets set by the criteria. Qualitative evaluations, on the other hand, are often characterized by gut feel experience and prior knowledge. This type of evaluation may be inconsistent amongst the decision-makers. Even the results of the most accurate analytical simulation are subject to interpretation by the decision-makers and may be inconsistent.
Step 3: Fuse the evaluation results to develop decision measures
The methods developed by Robust Decisions have been specifically designed to support this fusion step and the following determination of what-to-do-next.
Step 4: Decide what-to-do-next
Arthur C. Clark once said, "The only hard decision in life is what to do next." Making this decision can be more important than choosing the best alternative. Often what-to-do-next is decided by what is easiest to do or what is dictated from above. The goal here is to undertake activities that will lead to the best possible alternative within the time and resources available. The choice about what-to-do-next can be:
The methodology used by Robust Decisions contains internal calculations that actually produce a what-to-do-next report this report suggests the activities that can lead to choosing the best possible alternative. Further, the Accord suite of decision support tools you follow the four decision-making process steps.