FacebookTwitterLinkedIn

PM4DEV Blog

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

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.

Rate this blog entry:
5
3215 Hits

What is Iterative Planning?

Iterative Planing is the process to adapt as the project unfolds by changing the plans. Plans are changed based on feedback from the monitoring process, changes in the project assumptions, risks and changes in scope, budget or schedule.

 

Its a Team Effort - It is important to involve the team in the planning process. The people doing the work should be actively involved in planning the project.  When they get involved in the decision, they become motivated to get it right. After all, they were hired and they have the skills to understand the dependencies. Once they complete the plans, they will own it and will accept the schedule. It also is helpful to involve your key stakeholders; these could be the internal support functions of the organizations such as finance or procurement. Also involve partners, donors or funding agencies who can provide with valuable insights and information on when they need the project to be completed, risks, constraints and resource availability.

Planning should not be done hastily; it takes time in order to get plans that can become useful to the team. Usually the development of all project plans can take weeks or a couple of months depending on the size and complexity of the project.

Iterative Planning Sessions - In traditional – linear - project management, the approach is to implement the activities under the assumptions that all events affecting the project are predictable, that activities are well understood by everybody, and there is no need to revisit the plans. Unfortunately, this approach proves to be not very effective, given the level of uncertainty on many development projects. What happens is that the original assumptions under which the project plan was built change and in some cases in dramatic ways. What was originally assumed to be true is no longer valid. Assumptions about approvals, additional funding, economic and social conditions change dynamically and the project needs to have the flexibility to adapt to these changes.

The project should find these opportunities to review the original assumptions and make the appropriate changes to the plans, specifically in the areas of scheduling, risks and stakeholders. This approach consists of a series of iterative planning and development cycles, allowing a project team to constantly evaluate the implementation and results of the project and obtain immediate feedback from beneficiaries, or stakeholders.

Rate this blog entry:
2
3099 Hits
Go up