The forced ranking technique assists in determining the relative weighting of various strategies or business drivers in a portfolio model by comparing the relative importance of each driver against the other drivers.

It can be useful where strategies or business drivers across different parts of an organization appear not to be connected to each other.

The Forced Ranking Approach

The process should be undertaken with the group of senior stakeholders responsible for the development and management of strategic and business drivers in a facilitated workshop environment. The output of this process can be used to set the weightings for a portfolio prioritization model.

What are the key steps in a Forced Ranking approach?

The key steps are:

Determine the strategies or business drivers to be compared and enter on the spreadsheet. NB. some cells in the table have been blanked out as it is not possible to compare something against itself and it is not necessary to duplicate comparisons.

Within the cells, compare the strategy or business driver in the row with the one in the column. For each cell, decide the level of relative importance and use the drop-down list to enter the result. It is critical to promote discussion around the business drivers’ relative importance to build consensus.

As this is a process to facilitate discussion and consensus amongst the stakeholders, validate the output with the group to ensure that the output table reflects sentiments.

Utilize the agreed output in the development of the strategic alignment parameters and weightings of your prioritization model.