A Product Manager is responsible for making product decisions that will benefit the user. As a Product Manager, it is your task to decide the prioritization of various products based on many diverse factors.

For more informed decisions about product management, it is good to use a decision-making framework to make informed decisions rather than just relying on your gut, feelings, or emotions.

There are many decision-making prioritization frameworks available.

For example:

  • The Value vs. Complexity Quadrant
  • The Kano Model
  • The RICE Model (Reach, Impact, Confidence, Effort)
  • The ICE Model (Impact, Confidence, Ease)
  • Weighted Scoring
  • Unweighted Scoring
  • Opportunity Scoring and
  • The MoSCoW Method (Must Have [Mo], Should Have [S], Could Have [Co], Won’t Have [W])

In this article, we will talk about the Weighted Scoring Model.

What is the Weighted Scoring Model?

One of the best ways to make complex and important project decisions is to use a decision matrix method. Weighted scoring is a popular prioritization method that involves scoring every opportunity or feature in a project based on a set of goals or objectives.

This model is very useful when you have many options (products) and you need to keep in mind various criteria. It helps you determine what is more important to be aligned in the strategy. This decision matrix is a quantitative method lets you evaluate a set of options against a set of constraints that need to be taken into account.

There are two kinds of decision matrices: weighted and unweighted. Although these two are quite similar, they differ in that weight is assigned to each criterion in a weighted scoring matrix while this is not the case in the unweighted matrix.

Are you wondering what it means by assigning weight to each criterion? Take the example of a test conducted by a teacher. Let us say the test has objective and subjective questions. The teacher may assign more weight to the subjective questions (say 60 or 70 percent of the total test score), which leaves 40 or 30 percent of the score for objective questions.

You should use the weighted or unweighted scoring model when you have many options and multiple criteria to consider.

How to Use the Weighted Scoring Model

Here we give you a step-by-step method to create a weighted scoring matrix. You can adapt it to your situation.

  1. List Options

Sit down with your team and decide the various product options you are planning to roll out. The idea is to decide which product gets the priority. Make a list of all the product ideas that you have. Your choices here will form the foundation of the weighted matrix.

  • Define Comparison Criteria

The next step is to decide the criteria that influence these options. Once again, make sure you list out all the possible criteria. To keep it simple, we will just list out three criteria: Business Value, Costs, and Risk in a table as shown below:

  • Weight to Each Criterion

Next, we need to assign a weight to each criterion. Some criteria may have the same weight while some may have more weight. This depends on how you look at the criteria and their importance.

Some people use a percentage weighting method, where the weight assigned to each criterion adds up to 100 percent. For instance, Business Value (50% or 0.5), Costs (20% or 0.2), and Risk (30% or 0.3). Others use a scale from, say, 1 to 5 to assign weight to each criterion: Business Value (5), Costs (2), Risk (3).

You could even assign a negative weight to a criterion. Put the weights on the table like this.

  • Rate Each Option for Each Criterion

Now that you have the chart of things you need to prioritize, it is now time to score each option. For each product, you need to assign a score for each criterion. Of course, this step requires a lot of discussion and brainstorming.

For example, give scores for the criteria: Business Value, Costs, and Risk on a scale of 1 to 5. If product1 criteriascores 4, 4, and 2 respectively, put these values in the table and do the same for each product. Your table should look like this.

  • Calculate the Weighted Score

Now we have to calculate the weighted score of each product for each criterion. See the calculations below.

  • Calculate the Total Score

After getting the weighted score, you now need to calculate the total score of each product as shown below:

  • Make Your Decision

After you have completed the calculations, use the total score to make your decision. From the scores, it is very clear what your priority option should be. The priority goes to Product 3, followed by Product 2, Product 4, and then Product 1.

Conclusion

Hopefully this guide to the weighted scoring method is helpful in your decision-making and prioritization process. It is a good method to use when you and other decision-makers are calculating priority in projects based on various factors. Instead of relying on your gut, it can help you come with informed project-making decisions.

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