Thursday 13 December 2018

What is the Delphi method?

The Delphi method is a forecasting process framework based on the results of several rounds of questionnaires sent to a panel of experts. Several rounds of questionnaires are sent out, and the anonymous responses are aggregated and shared with the group after each round. The Delphi Technique is a research method, including a feedback mechanism, to work towards a well-founded joint position. Explanation and example.


A name taken from the Oracle of Delphos -  Delphi technique. It also call the small group consensus or consensus of expert opinion it is a variant of the whirlwind of ideas and brainstorming. It is an iterative technique to achieve a consensus (not a combination of opinions) in a group of experts. Getting experts to reach an agreement is a difficult task, especially when they act in the same field. Analytical opinions combination is a recent development, of great interest for the use of artificial intelligence in total quality management.

The procedure to carry out the Delphi technique is similar to the of other procedures use in the dynamics of teams. With the difference experts to send their responses. To a facilitator but not meet with the order, to avoid disputes on technical issues. This method eliminates conflicts of personality in technical areas. It is useful to prevent stronger personalities from imposing their points of view in the discussion.

Procedures Stages

The Delphi (Delphi) technique involves:

  1. Identify a coordinator and a group of experts (internal or external to the Organization)

  2. Define the task as clearly as possible.

  3. Establish criteria for the final selection of the proposed solutions (e.g.: quality, productivity, cost, etc.).

  4. Communication through a coordinator. This process is illustrate below as an example.

To assist in the understanding of the method Delphi incorporate a presentation. That will help us to better understand the concept.

Delphi technique example

A company that produces auto parts for vehicles manufacturers form a panel of four people. This team should "guess" external shocks to the company in the short term (18 to 24 months).

Facilitator prepared a questionnaire containing open and closed questions. After each round, was a feedback survey experts, even reported them many (but not who) responded to the closed questions.

After three rounds the Panel reached the following conclusions:

  1. Raw material prices would rise between 5 and 7%

  2. Inflation would increase to 5-6%.

  3. The main buyers establish quality ratings to its suppliers.

  4. The price of labor would increase by 10-15%.

  5. Foreign competition would increase its participation in the market 3-9%.

  6. The company market share should increase to 12% to maintain its position.


  • The facilitator should not be an expert in the area in question. A bit of knowledge on the subject can lead to guesses covering the affinity of views.

  • Rephrase answers (Yes are handwritten) in a completely unpublished anonymous format.

  • Be cautious with multiple alternatives.

  • Not take the short path using the "rules of the majority" in the first round.

Finally, two short videos that explain what is the Delphi method in a very didactic way.

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