The Delphi Technique Cheat Sheet

What is the Delphi Technique?

The Delphi technique provides a board of directors with a thorough, easy-to-follow structure for generating, examining, and prioritizing ideas and solutions. This technique is perfect for boards tasked with making well-informed, high stakes decisions.


Decision-makers use a series of questionnaires to deliberate on ideas and solutions with an anonymous panel of experts. The panel’s anonymity is maintained by a facilitator who serves as a liaison between the two group. The facilitator administers the questionnaire and cleans up responses for clarity and relevance before passing them off to decision-makers.

Panelists are allowed to provide additional commentary on their own responses as well as the responses of other experts.

Delphi studies administer questionnaires in four rounds. Facilitators are allowed to repeat the fourth round of questioning until decision-makers have the information they need to make a decision.

Round One

The first questionnaire is typically open-ended; concerned with identifying need-to-knows and initial insights. If decision-makers have already researched the issues, the questionnaire can adopt a more focused structure.

Round Two

The second questionnaire presents panelists with the decision-makers’ summary of first round responses for commentary and clarification. In addition to answering Round One follow-up questions, panelists are asked to identify and rank (by priority) solutions or action items.

Round Three

Panelists are asked to review the decision-makers’ responses to their prioritizations and provide revisions or clarifications as necessary.

Round Four

In this round, the experts receive the decision-makers’ summary of any and all items over which the panel has yet to form a strong consensus. Also included is a summary which recaps all items and ratings for which a consensus has been reached.

This round may be repeated until the board of directors has enough information to make an informed decision. It is often only repeated multiple times when panel members are widely out of consensus. The more aligned the expert consensus is, the less times this round is likely to be repeated.

It’s clear that the Delphi Technique provides a considerably more thorough exploration of ideas and evaluation of actionable priorities when compared to nominal group technique. But, then again, it’s intended to inform decision-makers in situations which demand nothing short of “thorough”. It’s intense. But we’ll put out a cheat sheet soon enough! Check our blog soon for more! In the meantime, go ahead and click that big orange button at the top of your screen. The one with request a demo on it. We can’t wait to show you how Directorpoint’s software is helping businesses make better decisions… across the board.

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