Project Decision-making Is “Plan Decision-making” the Missing Process? David Kershaw VP, Cloud Services Altova GmbH
Do teams think about decision-making? “They tell us what to do.” “That guy makes all the decisions.” “We’re not good at decisions…” “Everyone has an equal vote!”
What do they mean? • Those are patterns of decision-making • Often called styles, modes, or models • Every team uses at least one of them • Some are technical. Most are not. They should plan decision-making!
Why do we bother identifying patterns of decision-making? We’re wasting time here!
Because decision-making is complex, expensive & failure-prone! Darn it. Bad decision! For example…
A decision may go through layers of decision-making techniques before it is resolved.
$$ Decision-making always costs a lot of money, regardless of the result. What if…
Decisions fail in many ways: • Error in problem identification • Missed or specious options • Error in analysis • Poor participation • Poor commitment to resolution • Results in team-impairing conflict • Error in implementation $#%@&?!!
Back to decision models… How do I handle this?
Decision models may describe: • Stages of activity • Techniques of analysis • Actors’ involvement • Inputs required • Rules for moving through stages
Effectiveness Participation Commitment Correctness Best alternatives Rational analysis Or Models typically focus most on either: When this is the case the PM needs to integrate both aspects
There are many decision models Intuitively boiled frogs Scientific / academic rigor Unstructured Structured Analytical They range from simple to exacting
So many models, so little time… Simple 3-options style Structured decision-making. 2. Decision-making roles and rights. 2. Overviews of some analytical factors. 2. 3. The Analytical Hierarchy Process. 1. 2. Team decision-making model choices Etc. etc. A few places to start…
Unfortunately for PMs the PMBOK is weak on decision-making • Appendix G. Section 6 addresses decision-making directly. It very briefly lists 4 general decision-making styles based on 4 factors. • The PMBOK also notes in passing that: • Communication planning should include time for decision-making • High performance is encouraged by collaborative decision-making • Anyone in a decision-making role is a stakeholder • Performance reports are used for decision-making • Effective decision-making is a component of Interpersonal Skills, a tool or technique of the Manage Project Team process • Decision-making Authority Levels are an Organizational Process Asset input to Plan Risk Management • Decision Sciences techniques are used in risk management (e.g. decision-trees) and quality control (e.g. control charts)
So, how would you plan decision-making? Decision register Risk register Plan Decision-making Inputs? Outputs? Decision Mgmt. plan RAM Decision log Scope Baseline RAM updated
Catalog similar decisions together • By person responsible & participation • By dates and workflow • By the need for criteria or voting The screenshots are fromMetaTeam
Consider the ranking factors • Time sensitivity • Cost of being wrong • Impact on other decisions • Measurable outcome
Align decisions with work and roles • Decisions need a reason for being • Tie to roles for implementation • Track implementation tasks
Above all, plan to keep full information! • For traceability and implementation • To resolve disputes • To learn and improve Learn more @ http://metateam.net
Thank you! David Kershaw VP, Cloud Services Altova GmbH http://metateam.net