Alternatives Analysis

Make the Smartest Trade-offs!

Definitive’s methodology establishes and standardizes the process for conducting an alternative analysis (AA). Although AAs can be conducted for a wide range of purposes and vary greatly in terms of scope and content, they can all benefit from a proven process and a common vocabulary.

The Definitive Alternatives Analysis Methodology

The Definitive methodology starts with a goal. This may be a problem that needs solving, an opportunity to evaluate, or a risk that that needs to be mitigated. In this early stage, it’s essential to have domain knowledge related to the goal. This can be achieved via a stakeholder engagement process and using subject matter experts.

StepStep NameDescription
1Plan the AnalysisAssess the attributes of the alternatives analysis to determine the path forward. Establish the decision goal, identify the data needs, identify the stakeholders, establish the team, and set the schedule.
2Build the Evaluation ModelEstablish the evaluation criteria and rating scales. Establish the ground rules and assumptions that frame the analysis. Continue to address the data needs and document the evaluation model.
3Identify the AlternativesConduct market research, if needed, and identify the full set of alternatives that could potentially meet the decision goal. Conduct vetting and filtering to identify the feasible alternatives, one of which could be to maintain the "status quo".
4Evaluate the AlternativesScore each alternative against all of the evaluation criteria to determine the benefit and risk. Identify the cost of each alternative. Document the results of the alternative scoring.
5Compare the AlternativesDetermine the relative merits of the alternatives as exposed by the analysis. Conduct trade-off analyses by comparing benefit, cost, and risk. Identify the alternative that best meets the decision goal and conduct a sensitivity analysis.
6Report the ResultsDocument the analysis and results. Develop the alternatives analysis report and presentation and present the final report.

What is an Alternatives Analysis?

An alternative’s analysis is an analytical comparison of the operational effectiveness, suitability, risk, and life cycle cost of alternatives that satisfy a business or technical capability need. An alternatives analysis eliminates alternatives that are not technically or financially feasible in order to permit a more thorough evaluation of the feasible alternatives, resulting in the selection of the alternative that provides the best trade-off of benefit, cost, and risk.