Decision support tools

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Decision support tools are tools, methods, and practices that help in one or more parts of decision making. This list is based on a Cambridge University website, which has nice summaries of each tool.

# : Decision support is primarily perceived here (and on the website and within the domains of operations research, decision analysis and management sciences in general) as facilitating the execution of the decision making process. E.g in the field of environmental modeling decision support tools usually mean models which help to understand natural systems and thereby inform (i.e. support) decision making. Similarly, e.g. environmental health assessments aim to support decisions primarily by increasing decision makers understanding about the phenomena anticipated decisions have influence on, not so much in terms of structuring the decision process. All these views are related and belong to the broad definition of decision support. In its current form this page, however, seems to take a relatively narrow view to decision support, that of operations research, decision analysis and management sciences. --Mikko Pohjola 08:45, 5 June 2013 (EEST)

Information control

  • Brainstorming
  • Clustering Processes
  • Customer Surveys and Interviews
  • Data Sources (including links to some www sources)
  • Quality Function Deployment (QFD)
  • Strategic Options Development and Analysis (SODA)
  • Soft Systems Methodology
  • Spreadsheets and databases
  • Statistical Process Control external link
  • Statistical Software

Paradigm models

  • 4 Ps of marketing
  • Balanced Scorecard (Kaplan and Norton)
  • Boston Plot (see also Product life cycle model below)
  • Capability and Maturity - Hayes and Wheelwright's Four Stages
  • Capabilities and Competences
  • Corporate Strategy
  • Flexibility Framework
  • Innovation Funnel
  • Manufacturing Decision Areas
  • Mintzberg's 5 Ps for Strategy
  • Porter's 5 Forces
  • Porter's Generic Competitive Strategies (ways of competing)
  • Porter's Value Chain
  • Product Life Cycle (See Boston Plot above)
  • Quality Framework
  • Quality, Time, Cost & Flexibility
  • SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats)
  • Time Framework
  • Trade-off Models
  • Vroom's expectancy theory external link

Simulation models

  • Cost / Benefit / Risk Analysis
  • Critical Path Analysis (CPA, CPM)
  • Programme Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)
  • Robustness Analysis
  • Sensitivity Analysis

Ways of Choosing

  • Analytical Hierarchy Process
  • Conflict Analysis
  • Criteria Rating Form, Weighted Ranking
  • Gap Analysis
  • Importance / Performance Matrix
  • Quantitative Decision Making
  • Strategic Assessment Model
  • Strategic Assumptions Surfacing and Testing
  • Strategic Choice Approach

Representation Aids

  • Affinity Charting
  • 2x2 matrix
  • Cause and Effect Diagram, Fishbone, Ishikawa Diagram
  • Check Sheets and Check Lists
  • Control Charts
  • Decision Trees
  • Drawing Packages
  • Flow Charts
  • Force field Analysis
  • From/to Chart
  • Graphs, Gantt, Histograms and Bar charts
  • Hewlett-Packard Return Map
  • Histogram or Bar Graph
  • Matrices
  • Media for Communication
  • Polar charts, Radar charts
  • TQM Tools
  • Pareto Principle external link
  • Scatter Plots external link


  • Benchmarking
  • Deming's 14 points
  • Deming Cycle (Plan, do, check, act)
  • Finite Capacity Scheduling
  • JIT (Just-In-Time)
  • Kanban
  • Materials Requirements Planning (MRP)
  • Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRPII)
  • Quality Organisations and awards

See also


Related files