Building a decision matrix

The picture below shows you a complete decision matrix in SquidMat. It has three courses of action (data rows) and three evaluation criteria (data columns).

The minimum number of courses of action is two. Anything less isn't a decision. The minimum number of evaluation criteria (the bases on which to compare courses of action) is also two. If there were only one, you wouldn't need a decision matrix. You'd just choose the course of action with the best value. (No need for weighting and adding, etc.)

Assigning a title and description for the decision matrix itself

This feature is optional. For future reference, you may want to give your current project (decision matrix) a name and store a brief description. To do this, double-click on the cell in the upper left corner (the one labeled Where to eat? above). SquidMat will prompt you to enter a title (make it short) and description for the matrix. To refer back to this information, go to the Help menu and select About this decision matrix. To edit the information, simply go back and double-click the upper left corner cell.

Adding and removing courses of action

Use the +COA and -COA buttons on the main menu to add and remove courses of action. Just keep in mind that these actions are performed on the last row. Adding a course of action places a new, empty row at the bottom of the matrix. Removing a course of action takes out the last row. You will be reminded by a prompt that it's the last row that will be removed. Make sure before you wipe out a row you intended to keep.

Naming courses of action

You can add supply short titles for your courses of action by double clicking on any of the row header cells directly under the title COURSES OF ACTION (first column on the left).

Sorting courses of action

You can move a course of action (row) by grabbing its header cell (the one where you entered its short title) and dragging and dropping it where you want it. The only time SquidMat moves these rows is when it does its computations and finds the winning course of action. It moves the winning course of action to the top and highlights its short title and total score in red.

Note that you cannot sort evaluation criteria from within the main program view. This is because reordering the evaluation criteria requires you to recompute their weights. So you have to pull up the Evaluation Criteria form to move them around and rework the weight values. We consider that form next.