How to use Pugh Matrix? + Excel template

Pugh matrix is a tool, that helps to use scientific approach on choosing between multiple options, potential problem solutions.

This article covers:

  • Pugh matrix – what is it?
  • Pugh matrix main steps
  • Decision criteria
  • Ranking in Pugh marrix
  • Matrix evaluation
  • Pugh matrix example
  • Pugh matrix excel template
Pugh matrix – excel template

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Pugh matrix – what is it?

Have you ever been in the position, where you had to decide from multiple choices, and you did not know which one is the best? There have been multiple arguments, that moved weight of decision to one option. But other argument moved it to different solution? Discussion begun then be emotional?

It is always great to have some other approach, that will be done based on understandable data. That will cool down emotions, and help with decision, right?

And Pugh matrix is tool that brings this scientific approach to our daily lives.

Erik from sixsigmamania

This Pugh matrix excel template, that you can download by the end of this article, will automatically calculate results after inserting ranking for each solution criteria. So you do not need to calculate anything, only evaluate solution.

Scottish scientist Dr. Stuart Pugh developed a method for improvement selection, called Pugh’s Controlled Convergence. More commonly known as the Pugh Matrix.

This metrix helps to select one or more improvement opportunities, with a weight of chosen important criteria by comparison with current situation, current process.

What is Lean in the business? – read here

Pugh matrix main steps

Main steps to create and work with Pugh matrix are:

  • Understand solutions, or options you need to choose from.
  • Identify decision criteria.
  • Weight each criteria by impact level.
  • Rank each solution in each criteria.
  • Evaluate results.
  • Double check your solution.

Lets say, there are several identified options, project team must choose from. These solutions were identified with project progress, by understanding current state, and by describing how future state ideally should look like. But there are several options to choose from. It is not easy to say which one is the best.

Pugh matrix helps with the best solution identification

5 ideas for first Six Sigma Green belt project – read here

Decision criteria – Pugh matrix

There are several perspectives to be taken in account when deciding. These perspectives are called selection criteria. There are important criteria influencing improved process, or solution function. Brainstorm selection criteria within team. You can ask for sponsor, or stakeholders feedback for chosen criteria.

Impact level for each criteria sets criteria importance from final solution expected properties, or business perspective.

Example. When choosing solution, that should improve some risks at workplace, safety criteria should have higher impact level, that the price of the solution. Discuss, and agree within team on each criteria weight.

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How to identify 8 wastes of lean? – read here

Ranking in Pugh marrix

By ranking each solution for each criteria team compares proposed solution with current state. Current state description, its challenges, and difficulties are very important to be known for each team member. It will be much easier to compare proposed solution with current situation. This is how you can rank:

  • Rank “zero “, If the solution criteria is about the same.
  • Rank “+”, when solution is better than current state,
  • Rank “++”, when solution is way better, than current state,
  • Rank “-“, when solution is worse than current state,
  • Rank “- -“, when solution is much worse, than the current state,

SIPOC diagram example (+template) -read here

Matrix evaluation

Criteria evaluation is a process, where ranked criteria for each solution are summed in one number. Final number high will tell us, which is the preferred solution comparing with current state. Higher number means better solution. Discuss evaluation results, if it make sense.

If there are very close evaluation data, that means, that there is no clear winner, and both solution are good to be implemented. Some advice for such situation: Choose most important selection criteria and choose solution that is rated higher as a winner.

In a case of one solution with evaluation number high above all other solutions, this is should be the winner. But I suggest to double check this result.

erik from sixsigmamania

Double checking if winning solution is really the best of all, is done by set up winning solution as a baseline. All other solutions, including current state are evaluated with reference the same way as first round of Pugh matrix evaluation.

How to use Pareto chart? (+excel template) – read here

Pugh matrix example:

Let me give you an example of Pugh matrix evaluation from industry.

Production team is solving capacity constraints on stand manual milling machine. There are 4 solution ideas, that were brainstormed and reviewed in previous project meetings.

First 3 Pugh matrix steps: 1)Solutions, 2)Criteria, 3)Impact level

Machine price, program language, space constrains, machine set up speed, product variety, and safety and ergonomics were identified as key choosing criteria. There you see an impact level team have chosen for each criteria.

Solution ideas and criteria are filled automatically on all required fields, once inserted in to the first table.

Team have carefully discussed each solution and criteria ranking. This was the most time consuming discussions. It was due to different team members opinions. But finally, they have agreed on ranking.

Step 4: Solution ranking – current state as refference

Evaluation table is calculated automatically immediately after ranking. And there you see winners of this review. Option one have the highest result value, but there are similar results for option one and two.

Machine set up speed is key factor in evaluation, and option 1 have the best rating. This one is final winner in this comparison. The same logic was done in result evaluation, that proved the best solution is the right choice.

Step 5: Pugh matrix evaluation

Results were introduced to stakeholders, and were approved by them. Next thing team was focusing on, was machines layout organization to fit the new machine.

Six Sigma DMAIC example in construction – read here

Pugh matrix excel template

Download Pugh matrix:

This is what you will get. There are two lists: – blank template, example from this article (video)

Puhg matrix example temlate

Here is the link to download Pugh matrix.

I do videos, blog posts, and all templates for free, in my free time. I will appreciate if you can donate me a cup of cofee, for more energy in my creation. (1 dollar donation counts, too 😉 Click on this link: I would like to support Erik in his effort

Do not forget to visit and subscribe my YouTube channel. I am uploading Six Sigma, Lean and Project oriented videos regurarly. So, stay tuned.

Yours sincerely Erik.

Puth matrix – training video

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