Trade-off Studies

Check your understanding of trade-off studies and the decision-making process.

1. Suppose you needed to make a decision regarding which engine type to use in a new automobile. Using a five-step process consisting of Planning, Gathering Data, Processing the Data, Making the Decision, and Implementing the Decision, describe how you would decide on a new engine type.

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Your response:


2. Identify the stakeholders for the following decisions:


a) The design of a traffic light at a new intersection

b) The design of a new weather satellite

c) The choice of a communications subsystem on a new mid-ocean buoy designed to measure ocean temperature at various depths

d) The choice of a security subsystem for a new power plant

e) The design of a new enterprise management system for a major company


Your response:


3. Perform a trade study on choosing a new car. Identify four alternatives, each with three to five criteria, and collect the necessary information required.


Your response:


4. To illustrate some important issues in conducting trade studies, consider the following simplified example. The trade study involved six alternative system concepts. Five Measures of Effectiveness (MOEs) were used, each weighted equally. For simplicity’s sake, the MOEs have been titled ABCD, and E. After values were assigned to each MOE of the six alternatives, the results were the following:



Weighted MOE A B C D E Total
Concept I 1 1 5 4 2 13
Concept II 3 3 2 5 4 17
Concept III 4 1 5 5 5 20
Concept IV 2 2 3 5 1 13
Concept V 4 4 4 4 4 20
Concept VI 1 1 1 3 3 9




Note that two stood out well above the rest, both receiving the same total number of points.

On the basis of the above rating profiles:


a) Would you conclude Concept III to be superior, equal, or inferior to Concept V? Explain your answer.

b) If you were not entirely satisfied with this result, what further information would you try to obtain?

c) Discuss potential opportunities for further study that might lead to a clearer recommendation between concepts III and V.


Your response:


5. Suppose you want to purchase a new smartphone. Come up with a list of the four or five most important features for your use—each of which can be qualitatively or quantitatively described—and then perform a trade-off analysis, using a technique of your choosing.


Your response:


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