All of us have important decisions we need to make, but can a piece of software help us make better ones? Odesys, a free online web app, wants to be exactly such a tool. Created by self described ‘decision theory researches’, Odesys takes you through a step-by-step process where you can lay down the different options in front of you as well as the different factors that can affect your decisions, and then set out to rate each against the others.
Odesys employs a weighted average framework that you have seen in other similar software; what is new, however, is the wizard-style interface that makes it very appealing and user friendly, and the analysis at the end, which sports attractive charts. Interestingly, you can make your decision model public if you like, such that others can freely look at it if they choose.
This software is not unlike an Excel sheet that we wrote about previously (Decision Making Tool), or free software Evaluweight, in that you need to (a) come up with various alternatives that you could take, and (b) come up with different factors that affect your decision.(For example, if you are deciding between staying at your current job or moving to one further away, the factors may be the monetary compensation, the length of commute, personal interest in the subject matter, the possibility for advancement, and the like).
Here’s how the process works:
The process is illustrated below. The question used was: “How to get my site finances above water”.
Setting up alternatives:
Simply add the possible alternatives. Not too many or too few.
Setting up factors that affect the decision:
The factors can be difficult to come with all at the same time. Luckily, you can go back and change/add/edit at any time. You need to be thoughtful and creative here, in order to make the process useful and relevant to your life.
Rating the various factors:
This is where the actual ‘analysis’ comes in. You will need to rate each of the the different options across each factor. This is done via on-screen sliders that make it easy to visually asses and contrast each of the different options. Note that you will repeat this multiple times, one for each of the different options that you entered.
And finally, the result:
Even if you aren’t keen on charts and graphs, the bar chart (top) is very simple and clear cut, and gives a good summary of the overall result of each.
I like this service, because I think that it potentially has a lot of value. Its worth going through the exercise, and don’t shy away from going back and editing, changing your inputs, or even revisiting it a day later or so (the brain needs time to process).
Decision making is hard, and what you will get out of Odesys depends on the level of thoughtfulness and honesty that you invest in the process. What you can expect, however, is to come out of this process having at least had to think about the various issues/factors in a holistic way, which can be priceless, and a great help.
Once you try it, let us know what you think in the comments section below.