Achieve Expert Consensus with the Help of Delphi Method

Delphi Method


When you are a project manager in a company, you must have a responsibility to manage your future projects successfully. There can be various positive as well as negative events in the future that can affect your project. If you are a successful manager, you are required to forecast the events and plan accordingly. The Delphi method can be introduced in this forecasting process in your business. So, the experts can take help of this tool before coming into a consensus.
Delphi Method

Basic Concept of the Delphi Method

The Delphi method is a systematic forecasting technique used with the structured communication technology and can be relied by the panel of experts. It is the tool which helps in forecasting the future events in a proper way. The experts can share their views and ideas in a particular group and their assumptions can be reviewed with a summary report.

The members of the group can discuss with the summary report and can present their forecasts and the assumptions to the facilitator of the group. He can then review all the issues and can prepare another summary report. Unless all the members reach in a certain consensus, the process will keep on continuing like this.

All the experts are aware of all the assumptions made by the other members. But, the forecasts remain anonymous so that they are not able to identify who has provided which assumption. This helps the experts to express their views freely and also the errors can be avoided from the previous forecasts that were not so successful.

The process involves obtaining various views from a large panel of experts. It follows with several rounds of questionnaires and the answers will definitely help in coming to the consensus.

How to Use Delphi Method in Your Organization

When you want to use the technique within your organization, you need to follow some simple steps:

Step 1: Select a Facilitator

You should find a person in your organization, who is neutral in nature. The role of the facilitator can also be managed by you, if you are accustomed with research and data.

Step 2: Recognize Your Experts

This is the tough step where you need to identify the right experts who can perform the method in a proper way. Your panel of experts may include members from your project team, your customers or other experts within your industry. The expert must possess deep research knowledge and have relevant experience in this particular field.

Step 3: Explain the Issues

You are required to explain all your problems in front of the panel. The experts must understand whatever you are conveying to them before commenting anything on them. Therefore, you should explain the issue in a very comprehensive way.

Step 4: Present 1st Round Questionnaire

The first round of questions should be presented in front of the experts so that they are ready with the answers. The first round can include general questions regarding the future events. The questions can be created in the form of surveys and the results can be summarized according to a common topic. All the irrelevant answers are to be reduced and only the important ones can survive. All the common ideas and viewpoints are collected and gathered in the report.

Step 5: 2nd Round Questionnaire

After the first round is over, the questions of the second round can go a little deeper into the topic. The answers will clarify various issues in the questionnaires and the surveys. This is the first stage where the consensus building is started.

Step 6: 3rd Round Questionnaire

This can be the final questionnaire round where all the reports can be arranged for the decision making process. But, if you want to reach a more concrete consensus, you can take several rounds of questionnaires.

Step 7: Take Action

After all the rounds of questions, this is the stage where you are required to take action. You can easily get a view of the future events and can analyze your projects for your future success.

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Proper Selection of Subjects during Delphi Method Research

The selection of the subjects during the Delphi method research is very important. The appropriate subject selection can help you in forecasting in the right way. Though there is no specific criterion to select the study topic, it needs to be closely related to your future projects. If the sample size is very large, there can be a drawback of the low response rates in this particular method. As the Delphi method consists of a lot of statements, the whole process can be very time-consuming. The proper use of technologies like audio conferencing, tele conferencing can be used to make the process a little faster than the average speed.

During the data analysis, the judgments and the insights should be assembled for the research. If the quality of the information is not judged properly, they can surely contain errors. The subjects of the study may stop providing answers in the various stages of the questionnaire. It has been proved from a study that the Delphi responses can be molded according to the convenience of the projects. If the subjects receive wrong responses and feedback, they can easily change their responses according to that. Therefore, the researcher who wants to involve themselves in the fact finding and the issue solving process can easily go for this technique. The subject selection and the time-frame of the study should be carefully chosen. If the panelists are obtaining low response rates, they can rearrange the subjects of the study.

To Sum Up

After going through the whole article we can easily comprehend that

  • Why Delphi Method was introduced
  • What is the basic concept of the tool
  • How to use Delphi technique in your organization to achieve consensus
  • The overall process on how to set up the questionnaires for the study

The Delphi study can critically be applied in the areas where the data collection is required with the real time response with the help of modern technology.

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