Project Management

Facilitating Fast Decision Making

As a senior program/project manager I spend most of my professional career in international program/project management, focusing on distributed projects in multi-cultural environments. People I work with recognize me for my ability to assess a situation quickly and define adequate and pragmatic actions to bring projects back on track. My style of management can be characterized as can-do, a pragmatic approach focusing on delivery.

The objective of informing senior management about an issue or problem is not only to make them aware, but to obtain guidance and a decision on how to move forward. To facilitate quick decision making, it is important to present the options in a clear and concise matter. Over the years, I developed a seven-step approach as described below:
 
Which issues are subject to senior management reporting?
Time is limited and valuable; therefore, a selection of the issues to present must be made beforehand. I normally do not mention any issues that will influence my scope in terms of budget and or time below 5 to 10 percent. The percentage is dependent on the contingency I have available or the percentage I agreed with senior management at the start of the project.
 
All issues with a higher percentage are subject to reporting. Deciding how to present findings to senior management is one of the decisions to be made upfront. In most companies I worked for, I used a PowerPoint presentation with six or seven slides covering:
  • The issue
  • Do nothing (reasons)
  • Alternatives (2-3 slides)
  • Recommendation
  • What is expected from senior management
The content of the slides is described in detail in the sections below.
 
Describe the issue
The issue needs to be described in such a way that it…

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