Section 2: Goal analysis

Section 2: Goal analysis

“Introduction … Goal tree and criteria”
(Source URL)


  • Step 2: Goal analysis > Goal tree and criteria > Video goal tree and criteria

Step 2: Goal analysis > Goal tree and criteria > Video goal tree and criteria

  • What we need to have is a set of criteria that represents the problem as stated in the problem statement.
  • So we need criteria that represent the provision of energy and the safety issue at the same time.
  • Today, we are going to ask him some concrete questions so we can design criteria for the problem the minister faces.
  • We include a unit already, so this goal is measurable.
  • By asking ‘why?’, you identify goals on a higher level.
  • In this case, reducing CO2-emissions is not a goal in itself.
  • Do we already have a good set of criteria? Not really, this hierarchy is represented by only one criterion, low CO2 emission in right down corner.
  • You find these criteria by asking ‘what-is-this?’ for every goal in this tree.
  • These subgoals are added to the tree and by asking what is this again, also these subgoals can be further specified.
  • All goals in the bottom layer of the goal tree can be used in a later stadium as criteria to measure the effects of each alternative we want to consider.
  • To be able to really measure, you add units to all goals in the lowest layers of the goal tree.
  • If it is difficult to find units, please try to formulate the goal even sharper, until you are capable of identifying a clear unit for each.
  • Goals that you can quantify, that is, measure in numbers, usually get more attention in decision making than goals that can only be measured qualitatively.
  • The goal tree in this example is for the minister of Economic Affairs.
  • Making goal trees for all actors in your complex situation, shows what criteria all actors will use for their decision making.
  • Out of all these goal trees, you identify a set of criteria that you will use in the further analysis of your complex situation.
  • Then returned back to university where I am now involved and leading research in the fields of energy and water management in particular.
  • Who are the key players, the key stakeholders? How do they look at the situation? What are their objectives and criteria? In my experience, looking from this actor perspectives into the different objectives and criteria is a good first stepping stone towards a successful problem analysis.
  • How? Well, by identifying criteria with a goal tree that will help him to decide on his next step after high school.
  • Repeating the ‘what is this’-question results in the lowest layer of the goal tree with criteria that can be used to score different alternatives.
  • Create goal trees for as many actors as there are involved.
  • Make sure all the lowest level goals are operational.
  • Make sure that all the operational goals can easily be transformed into criteria.
  • When you have designed all these goal trees, identify a set of criteria for the rest of your analysis.
  • You do this by taking all the lower level goals from all your goal trees.
  • Remove the overlap, as there will be many goals that are very comparable.
  • Of the remaining goals, remove words like ‘higher’, ‘lower’, and ‘faster’, so you really turn these goals into independent criteria.
  • The most important thing is the following: Does this set of criteria represent your problem well? If people could have information about these criteria and about nothing else, would they be able to make a decision? If that is the case, you have a good set of criteria.
  • Let’s discuss some very common mistakes when constructing goal trees and making criteria.
  • Main goals in goal trees often become too broad. That is the case if the goal is ‘always true’, that is, always, even when there is no problem.
  • Such ‘always true goals’ are what the actor is striving for in any situation.
  • The opposite problem is when main goals are too specific.
  • When constructing a goal tree from more abstract goals to more specific ones, the question to answer is ‘what is this?’.
  • In doing this, the answer will give a causal relation between the upper abstract goals, and the lower subgoals.
  • The idea is that a goal tree defines upper abstract goals in concrete lower subgoals.
  • It is not the idea that a goal tree tells how these goals can be reached.
  • In that case, you would introduce alternatives in your goal tree.
  • This is very dangerous, as the goal tree is constructed to get criteria.
  • The criteria you identify are used in your analysis to compare different alternatives.
  • What happens if you would include an alternative in your goal tree? You would have a very specific criterion in your set, that only relates to one alternative.

Return to Summaries

(image source)


Print Friendly, PDF & Email