The list of alternatives is usually based on what existing suppliers can offer or sell, which are the cheapest alternatives and which alternatives the few people who are involved in the choice have used before. Choosing an alternative this way is simply picking the ‘best of the bunch’ rather than picking the best for what’s required.
Making choices like this often means that the final choice is less than optimal with inadequate features or characteristics to meet the need and is poor value-for-money since it often includes unnecessary/unused features or characteristics in the purchase cost.
To avoid this problem it is essential that the list of required features or characteristics must be known BEFORE any alternatives are considered. That way the selection of alternatives is more focused, the alternatives can be compared to ‘the standard of what is needed’ rather than whatever is on the table, and lastly it is more likely the final choice will best satisfy the needs or requirements.