Option Comparison Heat map

Another interesting diagram or table in this case is the Option Comparison Heat Map.

One swift glance is all it takes for its readers to see where the weaknesses and the strength of every option lies.  As well as the reason for this weakness or strength.  And that’s where it differs from a Spider chart. 

Spider Charts are a very good tool to show how different options compare, but they lack the explanation.

Here’s an example of a spider chart comparing two solutions:

Solution Comparison Spider

It is immediately clear which solution is the better one (solution 2, so we’re clear 😉 ).  The reasoning behind each given score is less clear.  This is clearer in the Comparison Heat Map:

comparison heat map

In the above diagram, we just summed all scores giving each criterium the same weight, however in real life you might want to weigh the score depending on the weight of each criterium.

Important to understand is that in order to properly distinguish between options, you need discriminating dimensions.  When you look at the criteria in the example above: the first two are good, the last two are not that good as they don’t enable you to differentiate between both solutions.

The different criteria should be as mutually exclusive as possible and as complementary as possible (you guessed it, you can use the MECE approach for that 🙂 ).

Finally, if you have the Heat Map, you can very easily generate a spider graph from it if that’s more your thing (at least in Excel you can). However, for decision-makers it is often more important to have the reason for the different scores in the same overview.