Save Time with Free Excel Software Decision Matrix

Free Excel Software Decision Matrix

Use this free Excel software decision matrix to assess and score your software options. Perform side-by-side fit/gap analysis on seven apps. I’m often asked by clients to assist them in selecting software packages. I was performing an assessment recently and I improved the decision matrix I’ve been using for years, so I decided I’d share it. This Excel spreadsheet is used for scoring the various software options based on how they meet your requirements. I’ve simplified it a bit and I’ve structured the requirements into the standard Agile format.

Free Excel Software Decision Matrix

Here is the decision matrix which you can download for free. It should be pretty self-explanatory, but the first tab contains instructions and you can keep reading below if you’d like more details

Software Decision Matrix Concept

The basic concept is pretty simple. You list your software requirements or Agile user stories and then each software is assigned a score based on whether they can meet the requirement. I’ve built several different ways to view the scores, so you don’t have to depend upon only the total score. Your software selection team will then use this score, the price and other factors to make a final recommendation

Software Decision Matrix Instructions Tab

The first tab in the Excel spreadsheet contains line-by-line instructions on using the decision matrix. In the ‘Constants’ tab you’ll enter your custom values and weights. In the ‘Requirements’ tab you’ll list the requirements and then score the individual software packages. The total scores are then summarized on the ‘Scoring’ tab.

Software Decision Matrix Constants Tab

In the Constants tab you define the processes which will be used to group requirements. You also define the weights you’ll assign to various responses to calculate an overall score. I haven’t locked any cells in this template so you can customize as you wish, but if you change the ‘Priority’ or ‘Meets Functionality?’ values the formulas totaling the scores will be broken.

Software Decision Matrix Requirements Tab

This tab lists your requirements for the software. I’ve broken the typical Agile user story into its three elements so it is much easier to read hundreds of requirements in a single sitting. This is also where you assign a process grouping for each requirement (i.e. security, reporting, etc.) and assign a priority ranking. Assigning the priority rankings is usually a team activity with giving the greatest deference to the specialists for each of the processes.

I typically use this decision matrix twice in the software selection process. The first time I’m creating a short list of software using a critical subset of requirements. I list the most important requirements or broad processes and then score the software myself based on reviewing the software’s web pages and standard demos. I am usually aiming for narrowing down the software candidates to three packages which I’ll ask to participate in a formal request for proposal (RFP) and custom demo.

The second time I use this decision matrix is during the formal RFP process with the short list of three software candidates. The team completes the full list of requirements and scores them all. I then send the decision matrix spreadsheet to each vendor in the RFP (removing the other vendor’s names) and ask them to respond to each requirement in the ‘Functionality Available?’ and ‘Comments’ columns. The team then reviews the vendor’s responses for accuracy. Finally, I paste all the vendor’s responses into a master version to score across all vendors.

Software Decision Matrix Scoring Tab

The relative scores of the software are calculated automatically on this tab. There are three views. The Percentage of Required Functionality Met, allows the team to assess the software based on how many of the required requirements are met out-of-box (as-is) versus with configuration. The Total Score, allows the team to assess the software based on a total numerical score. The total score is broken down by required versus option requirements and by process.

Finishing the Software Assessment

The software score from the decision matrix tool is only one factor the team uses in making a final recommendation. The license price is of course one of the main considerations. In addition, implementation costs can vary widely. The team must also consider the level of support required. Lastly, most teams will place a high value no the look and feel of the software.

Conclusion

I hope you find this decision matrix useful for scoring software options. It can be a lot of work to pull all of this together, but going through this formal process has several advantages. It reduces the risk that you’ll purchase a software package that is missing some critical functionality. It facilitates getting the select team to reach a consensus. And finally, it documents the rationale for the team’s final recommendation.

If you find this software decision matrix useful or have suggested improvements, I’d really appreciate hearing from you! It gets tiring posting things to the black hole of the Internet without getting any feedback.

Regards,

Brian

Additional Reference

Detailed Comparison of Salesforce Project Management Apps

Build a Remarkable Salesforce Project Management Platform

Project Charter Guide and Free Templates

Agile User Story Template

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