About product evaluations

One of the first higher-level tasks I remember doing back when I was a co-op student was to evaluate a number of products and decide which one to purchase.  My manager wanted a defencible position so that when we shelled out five grand per seat to do it, we would have a good reason.

So, somewhere I read a paper on producing such a thing (this was long before the WWW had been invented, and frankly, it’s hard to recall how we found information before Lycos).  Basically, it came down to identifying the criteria that drive the decision – usually a list of features – weighting them, and scoring each of the competitors on the criteria.  The one with the highest weighted score won.

Usually, the scores were pretty close — close enough that you could easily fudge it one way or the other.  After all, if the scores weren’t close together, the decision would be easy, right?

So, here I am, working on yet another one of these things, and realizing that it’s all a bit of a sham, and I’m thinking there must be a way to put some structure around these scores.  I have such a structure for scoring candidates in a job interview, but more on that later. 

So, let me try these on for size:

0 – Does not have the feature

1 – Has hooks that would enable us to build this feature if we really want it

2 – Has minimal support for the feature

3 – Has the expected support for this feature

4 – Supports this feature with some added bells and whistles

5 – Has a strong leadership position on this feature.

Now, what about the weights…

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