Get Smart: Decision-making

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting Inc., an Ontario, Canada-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

It is often said that once people reach a certain level in the management structure, they are no longer paid for the work that they do but rather for the decisions that they make. Clearly that’s true--no executive is paid for what they physically complete in a working day, rather they are paid for the responsibilities that they have to ensure that the right decisions are made and that the people in their teams are working in the right way and on the right things.

It strikes me that a PMO is very similar. While the PMO has many functions, one of the most important is to facilitate decision-making, either by senior project stakeholders or within their own teams (as escalation points for project managers). In this article, I would like to take some time looking at how we make sure that we are as effective as possible at that process.

Decisions require support
Before we can have any confidence that we are capable of making the right decisions, we need to make sure that we have access to the right information that will support those decisions. That means:

  • Complete information that isn’t full of gaps or “I don’t knows”
  • Accurate information (the most reliable available)
  • Current information (the most recent that is available)
  • Identified assumptions that clearly differentiate between what is known and what is assumed, …

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"We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it - and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again, and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore."

- Mark Twain

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