Weighted Scoring Model: Your complete guide

Learn all about the Weighted Scoring Model: What it is, How to use it and how to analyze results.

What is the Weighted Scoring Model?

The Weighted Scoring Model is a prioritization method used to weigh decisions by assigning a numerical score to them. It's used while making decisions such as prioritizing project actions, product features, etc.

Using the Weighted Scoring Model, a standard score is given to initiatives. Teams compare the cost vs benefit of various initiatives. Alternatively, they compare effort required vs value obtained. They then take up initiatives based on the final score. This method helps in making objective decisions. In project management, this model helps prioritize actions while planning the project life cycle.

How does the Weighted Scoring Model work?

To learn how exactly the Weighted Scoring Model works, let's take into consideration the two components.

1. Scoring: Scoring implies assigning a value to the tasks. In this context, we score tasks based on their importance and the more important ones are taken up first.

2. Weight: This is the way we give the score to the tasks. The team first decides on which criteria to use to score the tasks based on cost-benefit. Then, they assign values to each item using these criteria.

After giving the values to the various tasks, the team applies a formula to compare the cost vs benefit of each task. This helps in calculating the overall score of the tasks. Finally, based on the total score, the team obtains the priority order.

weighted scoring model

How to make and use a Weighted Scoring Model?

So far, we've seen what the Weighted Scoring Model is and a rough idea about how it's used. In this section, let's learn exactly how it's applied in prioritizing tasks. We shall see how teams create the model and then how they apply it to score tasks.

Note that the examples and scores are not exact values or steps but taken only for the aid of understanding. You'd have to modify the content accordingly to match your project tasks.

1. Note down all your options

In this step, you'd only be listing out the various steps you'd be undertaking in your project. Take for example, if you want to develop a simple food delivery app. In the first step, you'd list out the various tasks that would be a part of this development.

On a rough scale, these tasks could be something like:

  • Developing the web app
  • Developing the Mobile version
  • UI and UX design
  • Third-party integrations

The above set of tasks is very rough and you just note down all the various tasks that are involved. These do not have to be in any order, so you do not need to take any criteria into account.

2. Determine the criteria

Here, you need to decide which criteria would actually have a big impact on the priority. This would take some simple brainstorming on the part of the team to arrive at the final set of criteria you'll use. These will eventually impact the weight of each option.

Some criteria you could consider in this stage of the process are as follows:

  • Cost of the task requirements
  • Effort required
  • Time consumed
  • Risk involved
  • Return of Investment
  • Quality of the outcome

The criteria that you decide on will depend completely on the project you are working on. Since the requirements of each project differ, there is no definite, common way of applying criteria to projects. The ones you choose to apply would depend on your project alone. Of course, there could be some things, such as value vs effort, which are common across. These may not be the best criteria for your project, though, so you'll need to choose the ones for you.

3. Assign weight to the criteria you've selected

Here, it's important to note that no two criteria will carry the same importance. Usually, these criteria are given a percentage value, so 100 is the highest score you'd give any of them. Let's take into account 5 criteria and give them percentage values based on importance.

  • Cost of the task requirements - 25%
  • Effort required - 30%
  • Time consumed - 25%
  • Risk involved - 10%
  • Return of Investment - 10%

So, in the above, I've given most importance to the effort required. Let's go to the last few steps.

4. Making the chart

Now, place the criteria you've considered at the top of the chart as shown. Then, the tasks will go to the left. In this step, you'll assign values to the tasks. Say, under the cost, you'd give values to each task, usually ranging from 1 to 5. For instance, under cost, the value of task 2 is 3 whereas task 3 is 4. These tasks could be anything, you can consider the food delivery app’s various tasks considered above. The following two tables make this distinction clear.

Cost Effort Time Risk RoI
Weight 25% 30% 25% 10% 10%
Task 1 2
Task 2 3
Task 3 4
Task 4 5

Here, we've given values to all the tasks based on how they rank in the given criteria:

Cost Effort Time Risk RoI
Weight 0.25 0.3 0.25 0.1 0.1
Task 1 2 3 4 1 4
Task 2 3 5 1 2 3
Task 3 4 2 4 3 2
Task 4 5 1 2 2 1

The last step to get the weighted score is the calculation. All you have to do is multiply the value of the criteria with that of the individual task. Then, sum up the result under various criteria for each task. As shown, you'd have the final scores:

Cost Effort Time Risk RoI Score (Sum)
Weight 0.25 0.3 0.25 0.1 0.1 1
Task 1 2*.25=0.5 3*0.3=0.9 4*0.25=1 1*0.1=0.1 4*0.1=0.4 2.9
Task 2 3*.25=0.75 5*0.3=1.5 1*0.25=0.25 2*0.1=0.2 3*0.1-=0.3 3
Task 3 4*.25=1 2*0.3=0.6 4*0.25=1 3*0.1=0.3 2*0.1=0.2 3.1
Task 4 5*.25=1.25 1*0.3=0.3 2*0.25=0.5 2*0.1=0.2 1*0.1=0.1 2.35

Now, the option with the highest score is the one to take up first and so on.