Option Evaluation

The Tool and Why It’s Valuable

The purpose of option evaluation is to determine which of the potential solutions has the best return on investment (ROI). We must answer these questions:

  • Is the solution reasonable?
  • Are the resources (time, funding, technology) feasible?

An option evaluation forces the project team to put their ideas on paper to conduct analysis and assess whether the ideas are worth investing or not. It prevents the unfounded spending of effort, time and money on solutions that are either not feasible or lack impact.

Often the final solution(s) is a compromise between conflicting needs and between the advantages and disadvantages of the various options.

How to Apply It

  1. Establish criteria for solution evaluation (see sample criteria on the next page).
  2. Analyze solutions compared to the criteria to identify those that have the greatest impact and can be implemented relatively quickly.
  3. Decide on which solutions to implement.
  4. Present recommendations to the sponsors for their input and final decision.
Pearls and Pitfalls
  • Existing technology should be used, but beware of automating a poor the process should be improved first.
  • Have a bias for solutions that are within your control and can be tested in those whose help is needed to test the performing process – without significant investment.
  • Consider broadening your team when evaluating options. Doing so is a means of gaining buy solution(s).

Sample Option Evaluation Tool and Criteria

Solution Options:
No Good
Scope of Control

Key Questions:

  • Are the solutions within the control of those on the team?
  • Are the right resources available to implement the solution and make it stick?
  • Do the solutions clearly link to the root cause of the problem?
  • How do the solutions compare in terms of return on investment (payback)?
  • Have the leaders and people in the work area weighed-in on their support of the potential solutions?

Note: You may have to conduct a loop from solution option to implementation via experiment to confirm results.

Effort versus Impact Matrix

This evaluation tool allows you to plot solutions into four quadrants depending on their relative impact and effort of Impact implementation. The options with high impact that require low effort should be pursued quickly, while those with low impact and require high effort should be set aside.

effort versus impact matrix

Additional Items for Consideration in Evaluating Options

  • Project requirements, sponsor’s needs and support of organizational mission & goals
  • Risk factors, and related mitigations, that affect the development and implementation of the solution
  • Staff training needs and development of the training materials
  • Availability and ease of data gathering and measurement