May 16, 2012 | Author: PM Hut | Filed under: Project Management Guides
Problem Solving and Decision Making Processes
By Alison Wood
Decisions decisions….pros and cons…is the grass greener..?
As a manager, you’ll run these questions through your head quite a lot. Wouldn’t the world be awesome if when you planned your project, every stage would be implemented and executed just as you had planned it?
Unfortunately, the world out there regularly challenges us and our ability to make informed decisions based on our survival. This can include ‘Shall I run away from this swarm of bees?’ or ‘This project is incredibly behind schedule and key team members have really bad attendance. Should I eject them from this project in order to complete it on time?’
These dilemmas can be called problems.
A problem is a situation that is not desired and is not part of your plan or schedule. It can act as an obstacle or a challenge that is stopping you from progressing.
Recognizing a problem
Recognizing a problem during a project is vital. You need to recognize problem ‘Symptoms’ such as performance deficiency, absence of staff members, behind schedule and running over budget. There could also be a performance opportunity which is when the level of performance is better than expected (we call this a ‘problem’ because it still needs to be addressed and the plan adjusted accordingly).
Solving a problem
To solve a problem, you must ‘diagnose’ it and identify the discrepancy between the actual situation and the desired situation. Then you are ready to take action.
Decision making process:
- Identify & define the problem – Gather information and assess the obstacles that are preventing you from reaching your desired situation.
Generate and evaluate possible solutions – Gather more information and analyze the data. Explore alternative solutions, get opinions from your peers and weigh out the pro’s and con’s. Take into account the costs, timescales, ethics and manpower.
Choose the solution - Make the decision of which course of action to take and the reasons behind this.
Implement the solution – Implement the action plan.
Evaluate the results – Examine both the positive and negative consequences. The decision making process in not complete until this happens. This helps us to learn from any mistakes that introduced us to the problem and improve the process in the future.
Problem solving and decision making are a key part of project management. Keep this model always in mind…
Alison Wood works for Knowledge Train, a London based PRINCE2 training provider offering courses worldwide. To find out more about getting PRINCE2 certified, visit http://www.prince2-online.co.uk/.
No comments yet.