Try this Method to Help with Complex Decisions (DMRCS)

Your team is faced with a complex decision. Maybe it's complex because you have a lot of options or maybe it's complex because it's technically challenging and requires some testing. You may want to consider a structured approach: DMRCS.

  • D - Define - What are we trying to accomplish? What are our choices, including not acting?
  • M - Measure - What metrics are we using to measure our choices against our goal and against each other?They should be precise, consistently applied, and fair.
  • R - Reduce - Start narrowing in on the solution. Check: do our metrics and choices match up with what we're trying to do? Output meaningful, worthwhile solutions.
  • C - Combine - Combine metrics to better understand the trade-offs of options
  • S - Select - Make a choice

Just like six-sigma's DMAIC, the Define and Measure parts are the most important.

If you or your team are finding you're stuck in making a complex decision, try a structured approach to solving the problem. DMRCS may help your team find that structure so you can make informed decisions with high quality data.

A Pareto Front Example

Pareto Front Example
Njr00, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Read More About It

These articles were published in an ASQ magazine, Quality Progress. You do not need to be an ASQ member to access them (they're free), but you do need to register on their site.

I quote Dr. Anderson Cook in the podcast from this article:

Anderson-Cook, Christine M. “Let’s Be Realistic: Strengthen Decision Making with Formal Structure.” Quality Progress, Mar. 2013, pp. 52-54. 

 The DMRCS model is presented in this article, with an example of choosing a job for employment. 

Anderson-Cook, Christine M. and Lu Lu. “Much-Needed Structure: A New 5-step Decision-Making Process Helps you Evaluate, Balance Competing Objectives.” Quality Progress, Oct. 2015, pp. 43-50. 

See this article for another example of tools, based on a decision on which supplier to choose. These tools are highlighted: Pareto front, trade-off plot, mixture plot, efficiency plot. 

Anderson-Cook, Christine and Lu Lu. “Weighing Your Options: Decision Making with the Pareto-Front Approach.” Quality Progress, Oct. 2012, pp. 50-52. 

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