Structured Decision Making or SDM, is an organized approach to identifying and evaluating creative options and making choices in complex decision situations.

SDM is designed to deliver insight to decision makers about how well their objectives may be satisfied by potential alternative courses of action. It helps find ‘win-win’ solutions across groups, clarifies the irreducible trade-offs that may exist between alternate potential courses of action and helps to communicate how people view these various options.

This website has been developed to highlight some key concepts and ideas, to remove any mystery from SDM and to act as a resource to practitioners or to those considering its use. This website’s content focus is on environmental resource management decisions, though the principles of SDM are universal and can be applied in any context.

Key Ideas

  • SDM uses rigorous methods developed in the decision sciences
  • SDM is particularly useful for decisions involving the integration of technical analysis with value-based deliberations
  • SDM has been adapted for on-ground decisions and is helpful for facilitating multi-disciplinary technical planning and stakeholder involvement
  • The goal of an SDM process is to inform difficult choices, and to make them more transparent and efficient