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SIX GROUP SELECTION TECHNIQUES Use these techniques when you have too many options and want to decide which to move forward with. They will help you reach a consensus, increase fairness and team commitment and reduce bias.

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SIMPLE

COMPLEX

GAME

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SUMMARY: 1. SINGLE VOTE • Everyone votes for only one option. • Use this when you don’t have many options. • Works well in large groups.

2. DOT VOTING • Everyone can vote for several options. • Use this when you have lots of options. • Works with any size group.

3. RANKING • Everyone orders the options. • Use this to make a final decision of what to focus on. • Works well in small or medium groups.

4. 2x2 MATRIX • Everyone arranges the options according to two criteria. • Use this when you have lots of options and want to know what to prioritise. • Works well in small or medium groups.

5. DECISION MATRIX • Evaluate each option against multiple criteria. • Use this when you have a few compleating options. • Works well individually or in small groups.

6. SCROOP • Play a game to make quick, fun decisions. • Use this when you have a lot of options. • Works well in small groups.

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BEFORE WE START: Here are three important things to understand that effect every group decision. By keeping them in mind you can make less biased and more effective decisions

GROUP THINK Groupthink is a powerful human bias which reduces our critical thinking capacit. It comes into play whenever we see what other people are thinking. Subconciously, we starting thinking the same as them, rather than independantly coming to an informed decision. Protect your team by not revealing the results of a decision until everyone has voted. You can also encourage people people to play devil’s advocate and raise controversial issues by creating a supportive non-combative environment.

SOCIAL PRESSURE Social conformity, peer pressure and office politics can make people vote for options based on whoes idea it is, and who else has voted for it, rather than the quality of the idea itself. By making voting and option generation anonymous, you can reduce social pressure and get less biased results. One example of this it the bandwagon effect. Once a few people have voted for an idea, people stop independantly thinking and start agreeing.

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VOTE SPLITTING Combine or remove similar ideas to avoid confusing results. For example, which option should you choose to focus you marketing budge on? Vegetable Risotto

4

Butternut Squash Curry

3

Steak and Chips Vegetarian Buffet

6 2

Steak and chips is clearly the most popular option, but if you go for that you’re disapointing the 9 people who voted for a vegetarian option. You’d get better results by having the same amount of vegetarian and carnivorous options.

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1. SINGLE VOTE Use this when you don’t have many options. Works well in a large group.

2 mins

METHOD: 1. Recap what the decision is and what criteria are important for judging it. 2. Summarise the options to make sure everyone is on the same page. 3. Ask everyone to choose one and only one option they would personally pick to go forward with. 4. Collect (see below) together all the answers. The answer with the most votes has won.

TIPS: THREE WAYS TO COLLECT ANSWERS: 1. Ask everyone to raise their hands

2. Write down their choice on paper

quick transparent - you can talk about who voted what

fairly anonymous, unless you can recognise your teams handwriting

not anonymous so people are affected by social pressure, groupthink and the bandwagon effect

takes more time requires more organisation (pens and paper)

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3. Use a voting software totally anonymous so people aren’t biased by group think and social pressure easy to get remote workers to participate everyone has to get out their phones and find the right link or log in


SINGLE VOTE EXAMPLE: You’re having a meeting with 20 of your colleagues. You’ve spent the last 45 minutes discussing the pro’s and con’s of four tradeshows you’re considering attending this year and you want get a quick idea of which one people think is the most important. You remind everyone what they’re deciding and that the important criteria are: which audience is most receptive, cost and media attention. You ask them to select one, note it down on a sticky note and then once everyone has chosen, place the sticky notes in four lines so you can see which has the most votes: Trade show 1

Trade show 2

Trade show 3

Trade show 4

Voted: this is the most important tradeshow

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2. DOT VOTING Use this when you have lots of options. Works with any size group.

5 mins

METHOD: 1. Write down all the options on seperate pieces of paper and arrange them on a wall or table. 2. Give everyone 3 large dot stickers. 3. Remind everyone what they are deciding and what the important factors are. 4. To avoid groupthink and socail pressure, ask everyone to choose what they’re going to vote for in silence. You can place multiple dots on the same idea and vote for your own idea. 5. Then allow everyone to place their dots on their preferred idea(s). 6. When all the dots are placed, rank the ideas according the number of votes on each to prioritise them.

TIPS: 1. If you don’t have dot stickers available, allow people to draw their dots with marker pens. 2. Use an online dot voting tool to include remote workers. 3. A good rule of thumb when deciding how many dots to give people is:

number of options 3

+1

So if you had 12 options, you’d divide by 3 to get 4 and then add 1 and give everyone 5 dots. 4. If you’re a large group of have a lot of options you can give everyone only 2 votes to make things simpler.

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DOT VOTING EXAMPLE: You’re in the middle of a design sprint. You and your team of 5 have thought of 20 different ‘How might we’ questions you could focus on for the rest of the sprint. You want a quick way to see how everyone in the team will prioritise them so then you can discuss the most promising options, and not waste time discussing options nobody is considering. You recap the aims of the sprint and remind everyone now it the time to try out risky ideas. You give everyone 7 dots and give them a minute to decide what they’ll vote for and then let them place their dots.

1.

2.

3.

etc.

This example is inspired by Monday afternoon of the ‘Sprint’ book by Jake Knapp from Google Ventures.

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3. RANKING Use this to make a final decision of what to focus on. Works well in small or medium to groups.

7 mins

METHOD: 1. Write all the options on seperate pieces of paper. Repeat the process so you have as many sets of options as participants. 2. Remind the group what you’re trying to decide and what the important criteria are. 3. Let each participant individually arrange the ideas in order of preference. 4. Then each participant presents their ranking to the group. 5. Finally, as a group, make a final ranking.

TIPS: 1. In groups of 2 to 5 ask all the participants to rank the options individually. 2. In groups of 6 to 20, split the group into smaller sub-groups of around 3 or 4. 3. You don’t need to rank all the options. Consider wheather ranking the top 5 or top3 would be just as useful.

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RANKING EXAMPLE: You’re having a team meeting to discuss your brand tone of voice. You’ve brainstormed lots of options and agreed on an initial 10. Now you want to narrow it down to 5 core values. You’re a group of 10 people so you split up into 3 groups to reach a consensus of a ranked top 5. After about 5 minutes when everyone is done, each group presents their ranking and explains why they ranked the items the way they did. Together, you reach a consensus of what the top 5 brand values are.

5

1

9 6

3

2

4 7

5

8 10

1

9 6

3

2

4 7

5

8 10

1

9 6

3 4 7

2

2 8

10

6 5 7 4

2

6

5

5 2

6

7 8

7

2

4

5 7 3 8

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4. 2x2 MATRIX Use this when you have lots of options you want to prioritise with a small or medium group.

10 mins

METHOD: 1. Write down all the options you want to prioritise on sticky notes. 2. Decide which two criteria you want to judge the ideas on and draw a matrix on the whiteboard or wall. 3. Give everyone in the group an equal number of the sticky notes and allow them to place them on the matrix with no discussion. 4. Once all the sticky notes are on the board, check you all agree with the placement. Discuss and move any you’re not sure about.

TIPS: 1. If you have a larger group, split into groups of 4 or 5 and reach a consensus independently and then share with the group to reach a final consensus. 2. Each person can also independently give each option a score from -5 to 5 on the two criteria, and then you can calculate the average score across the whole group. Best done with software. 2. Choose you criteria carefully. They should be independant of each other and something you can reach a consensus on. Some examples are: effort vs. impact and desirability vs. feasibility.

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2x2 MATRIX EXAMPLE: Feature prioritisation. You’re designing a new app. You’ve thought of lots of exciting features and you want to build but before starting you want to decide with your team which to build first. You set the criteria ‘effort vs. impact’.

high impact top three things to build!

high effort

low effort

low impact

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5. DECISION MATRIX Use this when you have a few competing options. Works well individually or in small groups.

15 mins

A decision matrix puts numbers on every aspect of your decision to help you make a balanced decision. It’s a good way to make sure you’ve considered all the important aspects of each option.

METHOD: 1. Use the template below to write down: a) What decision you want to make b) All the options you’re considering and c) All the criteria that are important to the decision 2. Then rank each criteria with how important it is on a scale of 1 (important) to 3 (very important). 3. Then rank how much each options meets the criteria, from 0 (not at all) to 3 (very much). 4. Then multiply the rank with the amount each option met the criteria. 5. Finally add up the score for each option. The option with the highest score meets your decision criteria most fully. Write your decision here Option 1

Option 2

Criteria A

Rank A

0-3

0-3

Criteria B

Rank B

0-3

0-3

Criteria C

Rank C

0-3

0-3

Criteria D

Rank D

0-3

Criteria E

Rank E

0-3

0-3

Score 1

Score 2

0-3

Option 3

Option 4

Option 5

0-3

0-3

0-3

0-3

0-3

0-3

0-3

0-3

0-3

0-3

0-3

0-3

0-3

0-3

0-3

Score 3

Score 4

Score 5

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DECISION MATRIX EXAMPLE: You’re thinking about moving offices. You’re in a co-working space at the moment and you’re comapny has grown a bit too large. Should you move or stay, and if you move, where?

Where should we have the company offices? Stay where we are

Move to a more luxurious coworking space

Rent our own office space

Become a distributed company

Cost

3

2

1

0

3

Productivity

3

3

3

3

2

Facilities

2

2

3

3

1

Lifestyle

3

1

2

2

3

Ease of hiring

1

1

2

2

3

3×2=6

3×1=3

3×0=0

3×3=9

3×3=9

3×3=9

3×3=9

3×2=6

2×2=4

2×3=4

2×3=6

2×1=2

3×1=3

3×2=6

3×2=6

3×3=9

1×1= 1

1×2=2

1×2=2

1×3=3

Score = 24

Score = 23

Score = 23

Score = 29

So, according to your selection criteria, ‘become a distributed company' is the best alternative.

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6. SCROOP Use this when you have a lot of options and want to make a quick, fun decision. Works well in small groups.

10 mins

METHOD: 1. Everyone writes down 5 ideas on seperate pieces of paper. 2. Choose a person to start. They will lay down one of their ideas for everyone to see. 3. The second person has a choice: they can either lay down one of their cards face up next to the existing card, or face down underneath the existing idea to vote for it. 4. Each person after that has the same choice. Each idea can either have a chance of being selected or be used to vote for the idea you want to win. 5. The decision is made when everyone has used their cards. The winning idea is the one with the most votes.

TIPS: 1. Don’t worry if you write down the same idea as another person. If they place that card face up, you can use your card just face down, for voting. 2. You can play with any number of ideas per person. Between 3 and 10 is ideal. 3. This game can be a ot of fun and forces you to make tough decisions which can reveal what’s important. It’s not good for nuanced issues or issues whaer you might want to combine ideas. 4. This technique was invented by Mindiply, let us know what you think!

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SCROOP EXAMPLE: You’ve just done a brainstorming session about what to call a new product you’re company is developing. Everyone has come up with lots of options and you want to find the one with the most support so you can get back to developing it! Winning name!

Helio

Girraf

Titos

sotehC

SMUH

hSuS

atnaH

sorahP

ahnaJ

bbilG

kkilC

bulZ

issuS rtirF

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Yolos


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Profile for Mindiply

Six group selection techniques (decision making)  

A practical guide to using six useful decision-making techniques. The techniques are widely used by facilitators and there is an emphasis on...

Six group selection techniques (decision making)  

A practical guide to using six useful decision-making techniques. The techniques are widely used by facilitators and there is an emphasis on...

Profile for mindiply
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