Pairwise Chart

Posted on June 18, 2009 by

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A Pairwise Chart is a tool used by a group of people to rank a set of alternatives. In project management, it is used to decide among a set of potential projects, among other decisions. The charts may vary somewhat in appearance, but the purpose is the same—to reach a decision by systematically comparing two choices at a time. A vote is taken for each set of two choices, and the alternative that overall receives the most votes is the winning choice.

Here is an example of a committee trying to decide what to serve at the annual company picnic. The five nominated choices for the main dish are:

  1. fried chicken,
  2. hamburgers,
  3. macaroni,
  4. spaghetti, and
  5. steak.

There are ten committee members. First they vote between fried chicken and hamburgers—s even people preferred fried chicken and three preferred hamburgers. Next they compared fried chicken and macaroni—five people preferred fried chicken and five people preferred macaroni. They had eight more votes to compare the remaining pairs. Then, the total votes for each choice were summed. Altogether, steak received the most votes so it was the winning choice.

Pairwise Chart

Pairwise Chart