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How would the Pair-Choice technique be used with requirements?

Posted by Chris Adams

Article Rating // 23405 Views // 3 Additional Answers & Comments

Categories: Business Analysis, Systems Analysis, Requirements Analysis (BABOK KA), Elicitation (BABOK KA)


The Pair-Choice technique is a prioritization technique that can be used in single person or group settings.  However, it is most often used as a consensus building technique when multiple stakeholders are involved.  The pair-choice technique is applied when the audience is having difficulty rank ordering the importance of items.  These items might be requirements, but they can also be any number of other items that require prioritization.

The Pair-Choice technique asks the audience to compare each item against every other item (pairing) and as a group choose which one is of higher priority (choice).

The sample table below shows the pair-choice technique applied to 9 items.

Pair Choice Example

As you can see when item 3 was paired with item 7, it was determined that item 7 was of higher priority.

After the exercise is complete, the number of times an item “won the choice” is tallied up as seen below.

Pair Choice Tally

A clear ranking begins to emerge.  When ties are found in the tallied results, the table can be used to see which item ranked higher.  In the case of item 3 and 5, 3 won the pair-choice so it would be ranked higher than 5.



E.Matthews posted on Sunday, September 11, 2011 9:17 PM
Good technique and makes sense but not sure why item 3 won the pair- choice if bith scored 7 votes each. Could you or someone please explain.
Chris Adams posted on Sunday, September 11, 2011 9:43 PM
If you look at the results in the table itself, when item 3 and 5 were paired off which one was voted to be better? Item 3. That's why once all the votes were tallied and item 3 and item 5 both showed 7 votes, item 3 was selected.
Chris Adams
Pooja posted on Friday, April 5, 2013 8:34 AM
Good explanation.

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