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Multi-Voting and Decision Making

written by: Misty Faucheux • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 6/7/2011

Narrowing down your choices to get to your top priority can be taxing on any team. But, it still needs to be done. Learn how multi-voting can ensure that everyone's voice is heard and that the voting process is a success!

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    What is Multi-Voting?

    Project management teams need to make a lot of decisions. One of the major things that teams need to decide on is which items should be given priority. Unfortunately, everyone has differing opinions on this, but you still need to get a majority.

    One way to do this is via the multi-voting system. Multi-voting allows teams to select the most important items from a list of things to do in order to give priority to a few items. What separates this type of voting from standard voting is that it’s not an either/or decision. Let’s say that you have everyone vote. Five people vote for debugging a system while four vote for building frames. With standard voting, debugging a system would be the winner. But, the problem would be that everyone else would feel like their vote didn’t matter. A slim margin would decide the winner and leave everyone else feeling left out. With multi-voting, everyone gets to vote, and then there’s a discussion after.

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    Nominal Group Method

    Different Voting Methods There are several ways to conduct multi-voting. The first way is through the Nominal Group Method. This method works best when the group members don’t know each other, the issue is really contentious or the team cannot come to a consensus.

    How this method works is that a project management team will get together and have a discussion session on a single issue. From this discussion, the group will come up with ideas about the task and problems that could arise. Then, the group will come up with a ranked list of items to be done.

    The Nominal Group Method is very formal. Participants write down their ideas and then communicate these ideas to the group.

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    Delphi Technique

    The Delphi Technique is another way to handle multi-voting . The Delphi Technique brings in a panel of experts in order to come to a consensus. Experts will answer a questionnaire about a topic in a variety of rounds. The answers to these questions are then submitted to a facilitator. This facilitator will then keep bringing answers back to the experts until they come to a consensus.

    While the Delphi Technique can be useful in many situations, it may not work best in a project management team environment.

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    Brainstorming

    The final way to come to a consensus is through a brainstorming session. Each group member will come up with a list of the items that he/she thinks should take priority. These items are then recorded on a blackboard or whiteboard. These items are then numbered and reviewed to ensure that everyone understands each issue.

    Group members then write down the top items that they think should take priority. Each person should pick a third of the list. For example, if you have a list of 12 items, each person should pick 4 to work on. If you do not require secrecy, you can do this by a show of hands after reading out items.

    The votes are then tallied, and the list cut down to reflect the top items. These items are then discussed. A final vote is either done by paper ballot or hands to choose the one item that takes the top priority.