Wikis > Guidelines for Multi Criteria Multi Stakeholder Multi Alternative Module (3M)

Picture: Carl Dwyer

The 3M module gives the stakeholders an overview. 

The Multi Criteria, Multi Stakeholder, Multi Alternative module (abbreviated as MCMSMA or triple M or 3M) is an open access module that creates a comprehensive overview of all the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) used to support the decision making of the renewal of a city district. The purpose is to help the planning process, where many stakeholders are involved with different interests, by creating transparency and a comparison of different alternatives. The module was developed by Vabi in the Netherlands.


Three dimensions – three Ms

An alternative is a proposed retrofitting approach for a district – this is one of dimensions of the 3M module. There can be many different alternatives. The current situation “As-Is” and the desired situation “To-Be” are “special” alternatives. An alternative is rated by means of KPIs (key performance indicators).

In a district there are many stakeholders; this is the second dimension of the 3M module. Each stakeholder can have a different rating for a KPI. Examples of stakeholders are housing associations, municipalities, energy companies etc.

The last dimension is the multi criteria. If you want to compare different retrofitting alternatives you should rate them in one way or another. The 3M module rates the alternatives by calculating a score based on weighted averaging of the individual KPI scores. This is called multi criteria.


Step 1: Set values in the Dashboard, then compare in the 3M module

The 3M module is dependent on values given in the general Dashboard in the Ecodistrict-ICT IDSS platform and should therefore be used in combination with a configured Dashboard. Hence it is required to learn and use the Dashboard prior to usage of the MCMSMA module (for Dashboard guidelines turn to link >>).

Each individual KPI has a value associated to it (set in the Dashboard). This value can be a result from a calculation module (e.g. energy consumption) or a score given manually by the facilitator or a stakeholder. The KPIs will be given values for an As-is situation, To-be situation (ambitions) and for different renovation alternatives. In the Dashboard guidelines the KPI configuration and use is explained in more details, see link >>. Below relevant parts associated with the 3M module are explained.

In the Dashboard each stakeholder has the possibility to state ambitions for the To-be situation and importance (weight) of each KPI. To be able to compare different KPIs with different units in the 3M module they are normalised on a scale from 1 to 10. In the Dashboard, the facilitator, preferably together with the stakeholders, has defined general levels of sufficient (correspond to a score 6) and excellent (correspond to a score 10) for each KPI. These levels will affect the colouring of the KPI values in the 3M module.

For the As-is situation and for the different renovation alternatives the KPIs values are set by the facilitator. These values are either calculated by connected modules in the Ecodistr-ICT IDSS platform or entered manually. These (unweighted) scores will therefore be the same for all stakeholders in the 3M module.



Figure 1 The command box showing the status of the connection to the central system of the Ecodistr-ICT IDSS platform and the communication between the central system and the 3M module .

Step 2: Starting the MCMSMA module

For first time use of the 3M module see the section Installation instructions below. Note that it is important is to set the right case-id in the configuration file; so whenever you change case this needs to be done.

Start the MCMSMA module on a local PC by opening the file KpiDashboard.exe. At the first start-up there is no data to be shown yet. The scores are displayed when you send data to the MCMSMA module from the general dashboard as described in step 3. The 3M module is connected to the dashboard via internet communication. A command box shows the status of the connection to the central system of the Ecodistr-ICT IDSS platform and the communication between the central system and the 3M module, see Figure 1.


Step 3: Send data to the 3M module

Send data to the 3M module by pressing “Send data to MCMSMV module” (MCMSMV is the old name of the MCMSMA), which can be found in the general Dashboard, under the “Compare alternatives” tab, see Figure 2. Note that the 3M module must be started before you send the data from the Dashboard to the 3M module, as was explained in Step 2.


Figure 2 Screenshot of general dashboard “Compare alternatives” tab for sending data to the MCMSMA module.


Pushing the send button again after changes in the Dashboard will automatically update data in the 3M Module.

If the 3M module does not start automatically it means that the connection with the central system has failed, please turn to the section “Temp file” below to solve the problem.



Figure 3 Filtering functionality in the MCMSMA (settings).

Step 4: To focus, use the filtering options

There is a lot of different data that can be shown in the triple M module. To help the user to focus on the most important data there is filter functionality in the module, under Settings. With the filters it is possible to reduce the data shown. As can be seen in Figure 3 the user can select which data are to be seen in regards to the most promising Alternatives, the important Stakeholders and the most differentiating KPIs. The user can change these filters at any time.


Step 5: Switch between different views

In the 3M module a number of different views are possible. It is important to focus on the view that supports the discussion for the specific district refurbishment in the best way.
The possible views are:

  • View focusing on one Alternative: Select one alternative and compare how this alternative scores amongst the stakeholders (choose to-be or as-is as reference comparison), see Figure 4.
  • View focusing on one Stakeholder: Select a single stakeholder and compare how the different alternatives score for this stakeholder (choose to-be or as-is as reference comparison).
  • Overall view: Compare alternatives on the bases of weighted averaged KPI scores per stakeholders. The circles represent averages for all stakeholders (so each stakeholder is weighted equally), see Figure 5.

These views are created by selections made in the three drop-down menus. The possibilities are:

  • In the first drop-down menu it is a selection between the Alternatives, Stakeholders or Overall views.
  • In the second drop-down menu it is a selection of which specific alternative / stakeholder are to be displayed.
  • In the third drop-down menu it is a selection of which reference, “as-is” or “to-be”, that should be used as a comparison.

Figure 4 Viewing mode focusing on one Alternative (one alternative, multiple stakeholders, to-be as a reference).



Figure 5 Overall scores for the alternatives – the bars are weighted averages for all KPIs per stakeholder and the circles are the averages of the bar values.


Further explanations of elements in the MCMSMA module


3mliten1Individual KPI score

Features of an individual KPI score:

– Hold mouse over KPI name to get complete name and value of KPI.

– Coloured bar is the actual score for this KPI. These scores are not weighted. The colour refers to the scale with bad in red (score 1), sufficient in light green (score 6) and excellent in dark green (score 10).

– Grey bar is the “as-is” / “to-be” score for this KPI.



Weighting factor

Features of the weighting factor:

– More bullets more weight (the weight, i.e. the importance of an KPI, is given by each stakeholder)


3mliten3Alternative score

Features of the alternative score:

– Coloured outside ring represent weighted average scores of all KPIs for a certain Alternative.

– Grey inside ring represent weighted average scores of all KPIs for “as-is / to-be” situation (as a comparison).


Copying and saving views
Pressing “s” key will copy the 3M module screen view to the clipboard from where it can be used in any application through copy and paste.

Pressing “Ctrl+s” keys will save the 3M module screen view to file.


Installation Instructions
Before getting started the first time, the file needs to be extracted to the local computer – it can be extracted to any directory. The zip file can be found here: link >>.

KpiDashboard.exe is the application to start the 3M module. The application uses an intermediate file for the communication with the central system. This intermediate text-file is by default located in the windows temp directory on the computer.

The Case ID of the current case needs to be entered in the KpiDasboard.exe.config file. The Case ID can be found in the general Dashboard under the “IDSS Dashboard” tab (this tab is found far to the left in the top menu).

In Figure 6 the text under “user settings” in the KpiDasboard.exe.config file is shown. Green text are where the following might need to be edited in order for it to work:

  • OutputDir: Location for intermediate file (by default %temp%). Change to the temp directory where intermediate file “txt” is located on your computer.
  • OutputFile: Name of intermediate file (by default “dashboard.txt”
  • ProjectID: Case ID from the current case has to be entered; see explanation above (No default text is given, in order to prevent interference from other cases).
  • Port: Port can also be set to 443 (By default 4443, which can be blocked occasionally. When a port is blocked the communication module will come back with the message that a communication time-out has occurred.)



Figure 6 KpiDasboard.exe.config file, green text is where changes are made.


To start the MCMSMA module, turn to Step 2 above.


Temp file
If the 3M module does not start automatically it means that the connection with the central system has failed.

The intermediate dashboard.txt file (found in the temp directory specified in the config file) can in that case be filled in manually by copying and pasting the Jason content shown in the general Dashboard, see Figure 7.


Figure 7 The Jason content shown in the general Dashboard (if the central system connection fails).


Interpretation of the results

The 3M module is used to create transparency and overview in selecting the most optimal alternative to be explored.

If you select one alternative, you can easily see what the most important KPIs are for each stakeholder. By showing the most important KPIs it can help to start a discussion and generate new alternatives rewarding these KPIs. For instance applying a green roof both for energy saving and water storage.

If you select one stakeholder you can see which alternative is the best for him based on the highest score in the circles.

The overall view let you select the alternative that suits all stakeholders the most.



When showing results to the stakeholder try to focus on 5 KPIs and 5 Alternatives at a maximum. (Let the stakeholders only select their 5 upmost important KPIs in the configuration phase.)

Don’t set sufficient and excellent too far apart from each other (set in the general Dashboard). The closer they are together the more sensitive the scores become for changes in the KPIs.


Information for programmers

For more information about the MCMSMA module for programmers, turn to link >>.


More Supporting modules Calculation modules



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