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Pugh Analysis

Pugh Analysis

What is it?

Pugh Analysis is very similar to the pros vs. cons lists. These charts are used for evaluation of multiple options, factors, indicators against each other, in relation to a main baseline option. The Pugh matrix helps determine which items or potential solutions are more important or ‘better’ than others. The method was created by Stuart Pugh from Scotland as an approach for selection of concept alternatives.

Why is it important?

This chart is great for use due to time needed for creation. To create the chart takes a development team to analyze the scores and weighting factors is usually much shorter and cheaper compared to deploying the wrong solution to a project. The next step ranking the criteria further helps focus the team's efforts on the critical few. 

The Pugh matrix allows an individual or team to:

  1. Compare different concepts
  2. Create strong alternative concepts from weaker concepts
  3. Create an optimal concept that may be a combination or variant of the best of other concepts.

When to use it?

To list the positive and negative aspects of each option, one by one, to create a matrix of the needs vs. concepts helps address multiple factors at the same time and gives the team a holistic view of the needs vs. alternatives at hand.

How to use it?

Step by step process:

  1. Develop a set of criteria according to the customer's requirements.
  2. Enhance these criteria by including any item of functional nature.
  3. Generate a group of design concepts which are meant to satisfy the criteria.
  4. Using a simple matrix - list criteria on the left and the concepts across the top. Use simple sketches to illustrate each of these concepts.
  5. Set one of the concepts as a baseline.
  6. Evaluate each concept against the datum for each of the criteria. Determine whether it is better (+), the same (0) or worse(-) than the baseline. Alternately, one could assign a -1, 0, +1 based on where each choice would stack up against a set of the agreed-to criteria. We could give each of these criterion a weight and get the composite score of the alternate*criterion to determine the better alternative.
  7. Record the team's decisions on the matrix.
  8. For each column, determine the total number of pluses, minuses and sames. Alternately, take the sum of the alternate score multiplied by weight of the criterion.
  9. Work to improve those concepts that scored best by incorporating strong ideas from other concepts.
  10. Continue the process of synthesizing concepts.

Pugh Analysis

Author: Jana Loskotova