My wife and I are terrible at making decisions and we have some seriously weighty decisions to make that'll affect our lives for the next 5 years. I would like to find free or low-cost software/service that I could use to visualize the possible options, add values to each decision based on the actor and map out what I would need to do in order to prepare and execute that option as well as map out how I think things will go.

Does anyone know of any software or service that could assist with this?

Thanks for any suggestions/advice you provide in advance.

1 Answer 1


Perhaps it is easiest to start with "Weighted ranking".

I think there are quite a few spreadsheet-based solutions out there (Excel templates) that demonstrate Weighted Ranking.

You basically have to list all decision alternatives (say models of used cars to buy), one per row, and you give each alternative a priority-score between say 10 and 30 points. Then you add some criteria, say "design appeal", "security features", "build quality", "age", "asking price" etc. and you give each criterion a (subjective) weight-score again say 10 and 30 points. And then you perform a "Sumproduct operation", or for slightly more advanced models, a matrix multiplication operation, and this will give you a score for each alternative, but weighted.

Sort weighted alternatives by score. Focus on the alternatives with the highest scores.

Another much more sophisticated method is applying decision trees and rules. For this you can use Weka, but you have to learn a lot of theory first, and then you have to install Java and Weka, and then learn use the Weka User interface. Perhaps this is too much.

To illustrate what I mean take a look at these slides "Decision trees and rules" from a class about Weka.

The basic example is about "Should we go play football?" And the rules consider the weather outlook. The example is almost too basic, but it illustrates the method very well. This is why I mentioned it.

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