Decision Analysis

When discussing the Decision DrivenĀ® Approach and Structured Decision Management, there is a tendency to focus on the decision making, leading to the thought that "it's just decision making". It is true that the result is making a decision, but decision analysis calls for expertise and skill to gather and process data to extract useful information, AND the application of a SYSTEMATIC method of using that information to make decisions that accelerate solutions.

For our use, a decision is “a fundamental question or issue that demands an answer or solution”. Our focus on this aspect of the word ‘decision’ allows the ‘decision’ to continue to exist after a solution has been proposed or selected and allows other actions on the decision which will be introduced in the next sections.

Decisions are used in all of our endeavors and you likely have a method for working through your individual decisions. Where to go to dinner, which car to buy are solved with a list of wants. A more organized method is needed when we consider:
– a more complicated interaction between the various needs/wants
– extensive information gathering
– a need for inclusive decision making

There are a number of more formal decision making techniques for multi-criteria decision analysis for individuals and/or groups such as: Pairwise Comparison, Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), the Delphi Method. We will demonstrate a flexible, scalable method for individual or group use, as a baseline.

There are some characteristics of decisions that are fundamental to the decision management process. A decision must have at least two possible answers (we call them alternatives) or the decision’s solution is a ‘given’ (1 answer) or unachievable (<1 answer). We evaluate the alternatives using guides, often derived from needs or requirements (that we call criteria). Our default methodology applies weights to criteria on a scale from 1 to 5 and scores each alternative on each criteria from 1 to 10.

A Decision Making Template

When working in a team, the development of the criteria and alternatives together helps promote understanding of the decision to be made and strengths/weaknesses of the alternatives. The systematic application of a decision making method allows the process to understood by the group and trainable for newcomers. Once embedded, the skill is applicable across disciplines and projects.

Decision DrivenĀ® is a registered trademark of John Fitch. Used with permission.