The results of a MAUT analysis should not normally be used as the sole or principal basis
for decision making. It will always be necessary to take into account factors that cannot be
readily quantified or monetized, for example, factors like equity. Formal methods, such as
MAUT, can provide an estimate of the costs and benefits of alternatives but can never be
more than a simplification of a complex reality. Further, no technique can eliminate the
need to rely heavily on sound knowledge, data, and judgments, nor the need for a critical
appraisal of results.
4.4 Use of RBP Models Other than MAUT. The user should consider other tools and
techniques appropriate to the particular prioritization issue, and may apply other decision
structuring methods that meet the quality characteristics discussed in section 8 of this
standard. References (b), (c), and (d) provide additional information about decision analysis
methods. Additionally, the Office of Field Management' " roject Management and
Prioritization Guide"provides guidance for applying prioritization methodologies (reference
4.5 Documenting Results. Thorough and precise documentation of RBP applications is
essential and should clearly identify in an easily understandable form why and how the
priority rank came out as it did, how reliable the resulting preferences are, and to what
inputs they are sensitive.
BACKGROUND ON INTENDED USES AND USERS
5.1 Risk-Based Prioritization (RBP). For the purposes of this standard, RBP denotes a
structured decision process to prioritize alternatives that compete for limited resources.
This prioritization is based on an analysis of the predicted costs, risks, and benefits of those
alternatives as a method to aid decision makers with their resource allocation, planning, and
5.2 Value in Using RBP and Its Role in Decision Making. In practice, the insights gathered
during the RBP process are often more useful to the decision maker than the final result.
That is, most of the value added by the use of RBP derives from the discipline, objectivity,
and rigor its use brings to bear upon each step of the decision analysis, e.g., the careful
formulation of the decision options; the systematic evaluation of the decision objectives and
underlying values; the care taken to identify decision implications; the disciplined
assessment of costs, benefits, and risks; the rigorous modeling of competing values and
preferences; and the potential to measure the effect of particular factors or uncertainties
upon the preference ranking of the decision alternatives.
The use of RBP can be of substantial benefit even if the bottom-line ranking of alternatives
is not intended to be decisive or is not expected to be sufficiently discriminating-- given the
uncertainties-- to be of much assistance to the decision maker. It is not uncommon for RBP
to plant the seeds for new and better decision alternatives or ways of framing the problem
that prove to be clearly preferable to the ones envisioned at the outset, even in cases in
which the ranking of bottom-line decision alternatives proves to be of little prescriptive
worth. Thus, although there is a wide-spread misconception that the value of RBP lies
entirely in identifying the preferable decision alternative, decision makers need not
surrender their judgment to a formula in order to make effective use of RBP.
5.3 Intended Users. This standard should serve as a quality assurance tool for
experienced users of RBP. It is not intended as an introduction to the subject for decision
makers nor as a how-to guide for those with little prior RBP experience.