Graphics to Facilitate Informative Discussion and Team Decision Making

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desirability function, DMRCS decision-making process, graphics for comparison, Pareto front, scalability to higher dimensions, trade-offs

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Everyone knows the expression “A picture is worth a thousand words,” and this effectively summarizes the ability of graphical summaries to convey information and persuade. However, in many cases, the goal for the right visualization is to encourage and guide discussion while helping focus a team to make carefully considered, defensible, and data-driven decisions. The aims of graphics differ if we are trying to communicate the merits of a single choice versus outlining several contending alternatives for further comparison and discussion. These choices each have their own strengths and weaknesses depending on how we value different criteria. They also serve different purposes at various stages of decision making. Often the role of statisticians is not to provide a single answer but to provide rich information and summaries in a manageable and compact form to enable productive discussion among team members. Through a series of diverse examples, we present principles and strategies for encouraging discussion and informed decision making and discuss how they can be integrated with versatile use of graphical tools for examining multiple objectives, framing trade-offs between alternatives, and examining the impact of subjective priorities and uncertainty on the final decision.

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Applied Stochastic Models in Business and Industry, v. 34, issue 6, p. 963-980