Understanding the Decision-Making Dynamic

Gundo is a project management professional with experience in the construction and infrastructure development industry.

I have always wondered how contractors can deliver one project on time and within budget—and then fail to do so on the next project. Same contractor, same team…different project and different outcome. I’m sure many project owners have wondered the same, wanting to have their project on time and within cost estimates.

Of the many reasons that could cause the contractor to experience a project delay or cost overruns, two elements always get my attention:

  1. Ineffective communication
  2. Slow decision making

While communication seems like a simple skill that transfers information from one source to the other, it is largely done ineffectively—with the right information not communicated and/or accepted by the receiver. Often, one source communicates information and feels like it went into a black hole, as no response is received. This causes frustration and despair.

Related to this is a lack of decision making, or slow decision making. This element is crucial when executing a project, and late issuance of instruction becomes a by-product of ineffective communication. The contractor is then stuck, not knowing what to do next. Any time a decision is not finalized, a delay is caused and the project is likely to lose valuable time or experience cost overruns.

So who is making the decision…

  1. Between field workers of the same team?

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