Delphi Technique

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Delphi Technique

The Delphi technique involves multiple experts who arrive at a consensus on a particular subject or issue. Although the Delphi technique is generally used for group decision making, it can be a useful tool for estimating when the time and money warrant the extra effort (Roetzheim and Beasley 1998).

To estimate using the Delphi technique, several experts need to be recruited to estimate the same item. Based upon information supplied, each expert makes an estimate and then all the results are compared. If the estimates are reasonably close, they can be averaged and used as an estimate. Otherwise, the estimates are distributed back to the experts, who discuss the differences and then make another estimate.

In general, these rounds are anonymous and several rounds may take place until a consensus is reached. Not surprisingly, using the Delphi technique can take longer and cost more than most estimation methods, but it can be very effective and provide reasonable assurance when the stakes are high and the margin for error is low.

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