An example of Using the Weighted Factor Analysis

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The church [1] had given permission to fix their leaky roof. Bids had been obtained and their were 16 responses. The church board was meeting to select one of those bids if possible. It looked like it was going to be an all-night session.

Setting Criteria

After prayer they looked through the bids then laid them on the table in the corner of the room. How were they going to judge these? What was important to them? They considered what factors were important to the church members and put them in priority order. Well, price was probably the most important so they assigned it a factor of "10". Next came the reputation of the contractor for being honest, and given a factor of "8". Next probably came his reputation for getting the job done to quality and on time. It was also important to have a contractor somewhat local so that they could confer if needed. On and on their list of expectations went.

Evaluating the Bids

Next came the rating of each proposal with respect to the criteria. The proposals were laid out in order of their cost estimates and the lowest price given a "10". The highest priced bid was given at the discretion of the board about a "3". The next criteria was featured, the proposals laid out in the order the members agreed would represent the bid. On they went with each criteria being considered across all proposals and then a compliance factor given for each bid.

The Math

The criterion factor was then multiplied by the compliance factor and a performance number recorded for each bid. The bids were then evaluated on these performance numbers. It became obvious that three or four of the bids were clearly out of line and they were put aside.

The top performance number was unexpected. It was not the lowest bid. The board members were uneasy about the process. One board member had a friendship with one of the contractors and his bid was not on the top of the list. So the board stepped back, got a cup of coffee, laid the bids aside, prayed and reconsidered. They had made good progress. What had looked like it would take all night had only taken about 45 minutes to this point, but now they had to make the final selection.

The Reevaluation

The board carefully reexamined the criteria they had selected and the importance they had assigned to each. Were there other criteria that was subconsciously causing them concern? They changed some factors slightly, added a criteria that was somewhat minor, and firmed up their list.

Then they completely reevaluated each bid, and after discussion changed some compliance factors a bit. Then they redid the math, and come up with a final listing. It was in the same order. The lowest bid was still not the winner, and the "friend" was still not on the top of the list, but the board members were gaining confidence in the winning bid.

The Award

After more minutes of discussion, rumination, and much prayer they took a vote and awarded to contract to the bid with the highest compliance factor. But now they felt they could defend their decision to anyone with an interest. The meeting was over three hours after it started instead of lasting all night, and there had been no lost tempers or hard feelings.The weighted factor analysis and the hand of God had helped them make their decision.


  1. This is an account of a church board meeting at Bethel Temple in Dayton, Ohio in the 1980s.
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