Tuesday, September 11, 2012

#PWWCBA live: The biggest challenge to decision making? Risk.

Michael Thorn started his afternoon session at ProjectWorld discussing whole body decisions, which is to say, the following three inputs on which we base decisions:

Brain = Rational logic
Heart = Passion
Gut = Intuition (Lack of data and/or time)

Passionate, "heart" decisions may make us feel the best, but "brain" based decisions are the easiest to back up. Data analysis, mainly performed by lower level employees, is what is going to drive many professional decisions, but ultimately it may be upper level management who reviews the results and determines success.

Here are my key takeaways:

Decision making is what all workers do, and what steers what the organization does.
Most organizations are good at doing analysis and investigation, but struggle with the "pivot point" of actually making a decision.

Ultimate criterion: does the decision create a positive outcome for the person and/or organization?

For effective decision making: consider alternate approaches and scenarios, assign (or accept) accountability for decisions, and communicate, communicate, communicate.

You can follow the 40-80 rule when timing is important: you need at least 40% off the data, but don't need to wait for all data to be available, make a decision with 80% of the data.

The biggest challenge to decision making? Risk. 
Risk management can help with this:
Identify what could go wrong, assign a probability of occurrence, and then determine the qualitative or quantitative impact. Mitigation  of these impacts is where you start making decisions. Knowing you have an ability to compensate for these risks (such as a project management contingency fund) may lead to more willingness to take risks.
Risk management is not a tool, it is a process of identification, analysis, control & measurement of outcomes that has to be carried out throughout the project to the very end.
Focus on the drivers & critical factors
Nothing replaces project knowledge and nothing replaces your judgement

Michelle LeBlanc is a Social Media Strategist at IIR USA and the voice behind the @Project_World twitter. She may be reached at mleblanc@iirusa.com

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