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PM4DEV Blog

Ideas, suggestions and general thoughts about project management for development.

General Management

What is the Decision Making Process?

b2ap3_thumbnail_decision.jpgAll project managers need to make decisions, but good decisions usually come from the use of a logical and rational process. When used correctly the project manager increases its chances of coming to the right decision. The steps for a good decision making process are:

State The Problem - The first and the most important step in the decision making process is to identify the problem. Only when there is a clear understanding of the problem or decision to be made, the project manager can proceed to seek a solution. If the problem is stated incorrectly or is unclear then your decisions will be wrong.

 

Identify Alternatives – The project manager  and the project team should then start to list all possible alternatives. Most of the time there will be several alternatives and it is worth spending enough time to ensure there are a good number of viable alternatives.

 

Evaluate The Alternatives - This is the step where the analysis of the alternatives begins. The project manager can use techniques to rank the alternatives. Two of such techniques are Decision Matrices and SWOT analysis. The purpose is to have a list that ranks the best alternatives using a set of criteria for viability.

 

Make A Decision – Once the alternatives have been evaluated. The project manager should select two or more of the high ranked alternatives. All low ranked alternatives should be eliminated. The project manager then will need to review the problem statement and test the solutions against the selected alternatives and decide on the solution that has the best chance at solving the problem.

 

Implement the Decision – Before the chosen solution is implemented the project manager will need to make a revision of the project plan, schedule, budget and other resources to ensure the solution can be implemented. Part of the implementation phase is the follow up. The follow up ensures that the implementation of the solution has solved the problem.

Once the decision or solution has been implemented the project manager should monitor and evaluate if the decision resulted in the expected results or benefits.

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What is Process Management?


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Using process is a method to manage the project by breaking it down into its key elements. Process management allows for a structured and systematic approach to plan, execute, control and adapt all project work.

A process is after all a set of actions or activities that must be performed in order to achieve results. For example managing information in a project can be seen as a process; and in that process we will identify all the activities, roles, responsibilities and technique required to achieve a result.

Before the project execution starts, the project manager must ensure that the work is defined in terms of the overall objectives, deliverables, scope, assumptions, risks, organization, etc.; and that a schedule is prepared that shows how the project team will deliver all the work. Once the project starts, the project manager must successfully manage and control the work, including:

  • Identifying, tracking, managing and resolving project issues.
  • Proactively disseminating project information to all stakeholders.
  • Identifying, managing and mitigating project risk.
  • Ensuring that the solution is of acceptable quality.
  • Proactively managing scope to ensure that only what was agreed to is delivered.
  • Defining and collecting metrics to give a sense of how the project is progressing.
  • Managing the overall project plan to ensure that all work is assigned and completed on time and within budget.

Managing all this work can be daunting, but the use of process helps the project manager be more effective. By creating a method that can describe the steps to plan, act, do and check the project work, the project manager is able to  ensure the project is successful in delivering its intended result. A process is a systematic method that creates a constant, repeatable and even predictable result. But what is more important is that process management  makes project work be more capable of adapting to an ever-changing environment.

To manage the project management processes, a project manager should be well organized, have great follow-up skills, be process oriented, be able to multi-task, have a logical thought process, be able to determine the root causes to problems, and have good analytical skills. 

“If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.”   W. Edwards Deming

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