Making good decisions that stick is central to an effective meeting or workshop. Axis supports the decision-making process through voting and scoring activities embedded into our platform.
Here are our top tips on Axis powered decision-making.
1. Selecting the right scoring method
There are two phases where you get to select a scoring method:
Frame, where you can select a method with the purpose of shortlisting ideas down to a set of themes that flow into Create
Evaluate, where you select a method to decide which ideas to take forward into execution
In both cases when selecting a method you need to think of a number of factors:
How many things am I going to need to prioritise? If it is expected to be greater than 15 then using dot voting is highly recommended.
How will the scoring be used? Forced ranking is great if a definitive collective ranking is needed, for example if you only want to take forward the top 10 ideas. 2D matrix is enormously powerful if you want to understand relative merits of an idea against two dimensions e.g. effort and value to get a sense of relative return on investment and determine which ideas are quick wins vs. strategic big bets
How much time do I have? If speed is of the essence then dot voting is the best method to choose
For the Frame phase, the best options are dot voting or dot voting followed by forced ranking. A top tip: Dont forget about the Risk Matrix, a really powerful method that allows you to collectively evaluate risks in terms of impact and probability with the results shown on a risk matrix
For the Evaluate phase, we suggest dot voting followed by 2D matrix. It gives you the best of both worlds, a quick shortlisting of ideas followed by an evaluation of ideas against a matrix you configure.
2. Providing freedom and space to score
Axis operates on the basis of a secret ballot - no one can see who voted for what. This generates a robust output, eliminating the tactical voting and group think behaviours of 'open' scoring.
To get the best results give people a decent amount of time and space to think. We usually give around 10-20 seconds an idea to score and set the timer accordingly.
3. Using scoring to drive focus
When running a workshop with a larger number of participants (greater than 15 and particularly true when you get to 40 or more) a lot of content gets submitted. More than 50 ideas is not unusual. Collectively discussing every one is extremely time consuming. One way to solve the problem is to use dot voting as a means to collectively highlight the 'best' ideas to focus the discussion.
4. Discussing the results
The results of scoring are extremely informative and sufficient time ~ 10 mins or more should be given to discuss the output. This is particularly true with risk matrix and 2D matrix where both the mean position and the spread can generate illuminating discussion. For example, when an idea has a lot of spread i.e. different people scored it very differently across one or both dimensions, the facilitator can ask why people think this is the case. This will surface key areas of alignment and misalignment that are critical to good decision-making.
The facilitator is free to move ideas around the matrix if the discussion suggests that is the right thing to do. But beware of dominant voices and remember the wisdom of crowds - the initial collective decision is an important data point, and it will always be retained within the Excel output.
We hope these ideas help you when you run your next workshop with Axis! These solutions are simple but effective and many of our experienced customers take a similar approach when running their workshops.