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Explaining the Multivoting Technique

written by: Sidharth Thakur • edited by: Wendy Finn • updated: 3/30/2011

What’s the best technique to make collaborative decisions when the list of propositions is long and team members have differing opinions? The multivoting technique is the answer. Read on to find out how…

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    The multivoting technique is the best decision making technique, in scenarios where a mutually agreeable choice needs to be made from a range of solutions, options or alternatives. The technique involves narrowing down the list of options until finally a single option remains.

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    Procedure Adopted for Multi-voting Technique

    The multivoting technique (which is also known as nominal group technique), begins with a brainstorming session, to generate a list of options, ideas, problems, issues or solutions. For motivating to be productive, it’s important that this list is exhaustive and covers most facets of the question in hand. Once the list is ready, the following procedure can be initiated to achieve a consensus of opinion.

    1. Review each item on the list and explain it in clear, crisp terms, so as to ensure that all participating team members have a fair understanding of what each item means. It’s quite possible that some new and related ideas may crop up during the review phase; these can be added to the end of the list. If two or more ideas have some common ground, on the basis of which they can be grouped together, then this is the stage where this grouping must be carried out.
    2. Assign every item on the list a reference number, which the team can use on the voting cards. Before the voting can begin, the team is required to set the number of items that can be voted for by the team members. As a rule of thumb, this number is either one third or one fourth of the number of items on the list. For instance, if the initial list contains 40 options this number can be set to 10 or 12.
    3. To begin with the voting process, all participants are asked to build up their personal list containing the set number of items, from the complete list. Going with the above example every participant will be required to choose 12 options that according to them are the most significant ones, from the list.
    4. Next, the participants must assign a score to each and every item on their list. This scoring can be done in two ways –
      1. Assigning a score to each item on a scale of 1-10, where 10 means most important and one implies least important. Scorecards Used in Multivoting Technique 
      2. The items can be ranked on a priority basis using the set number as the highest rank. In the example the participants would be required to rank the most important option as 12.
    5. With that done, its time to tally the votes, and add up the totals to see how much each option has scored. After the tally, the list needs to be recompiled. For this it’s best to keep only the top 30-40% options that have scored the highest, on the new revised list.
    6. With the new list in hand; the procedure will need to be repeated until finally the list has condensed down to no more than 3 options.
    7. As a final step the final options are discussed and analyzed to assign each of them a priority.

    Although the multivoting technique involves a lengthy procedure, it proves to be of great benefit in situations where there are too many options and the situation demands a consensus over the final decision.

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    Image Credit:

    Image by – Sidharth Thakur