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Delphi technique and its importance in Project Management

Delphi technique and its importance in Project Management

Jul, 24th 18

The Delphi Technique helps to arrive at a common solution for a described problem. For instance, the project manager here is quantifying risk for her project and requires expert advice. To come to a well-thought decision, he/she can use the Delphi Technique. 

This technique is used in two scenarios


  • When there are several experts and their advice, despite being helpful, vary from that of one another to a great extent.


  •  When experts are put up at different geographical locations and cannot come to a common place for discussion or finding a common solution.

Quiz Question


A project manager is quantifying risk for her project. Several of her experts are offsite but wish to be included. How can this be done?




1. Do a Monte Carlo analysis using the Internet as a tool


2. Apply the critical path method


3. Determine options for recommended corrective action


4. Apply the Delphi Technique


The technique is used to attain expert advice on various technical issues, project related issue, risk assessment, management issues, and scope related queries etc. by the means of group decision making.


In the first scenario, using Delphi technique, one can come to a common solution. The process includes collecting insights from each of the experts, evaluating the advices to find commonness in them and eliminate the ones that don’t match with the advices from all. For example, if there are 10 insights, we pick the three top-most insights that seem to be common in case of all the experts. Then, these 3 insights are further sent as an inquiry and experts are asked for an advice. Based on their choices, the insights are further evaluated and zeroed down to one single solution.


In the second case, typically, conducting a poll anonymously and gathering information is done. This is to get the best advice without the involvement of external factors or the feeling of fear, judgment or ego etc. It ensures that the common consensus is attained with equal involvement of advices from all the experts from various parts of the world.


The Delphi technique is often referred to as “Wide-Band Delphi Technique”. To estimate the future results and outcomes, to make estimates in various areas of business, this technique is preferred.


For instance, cost estimation can be made for a project using Delphi technique. However, in order to come to a conclusion or solve a problem, a well-defined and informative question has to be framed. The procedure becomes simple the question is properly structured.


To get advice/inputs from a group of experts, it is essential to have clarity about the issue that is to be discussed. Only then the experts will be able to give thorough guidance on how to proceed and process the issue.


The procedure goes like this,


A common mediator or coordinator is assigned the work of collecting information. Someone who is well acquainted with the concepts of the issue being dealt with is preferred.

The question/issue is circulated to the experts and their inputs are requested whilst maintaining the anonymity. This avoids any feelings of outcast, inferiority or superiority.


The evaluations are collected. After eliminating the odd ones and picking the common inputs, the same are circulated for the second round of evaluation. The experts give their opinions on them and this procedure is repeated until a consensus is reached. 


Despite having thousands of tools available online, having an expert advice beats every other means of making decisions. Hence, Delphi techniques are considered to be one of the most trusted and reliable approaches to decision making.


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