Decision Making for the Project Leader

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Decision Making at the Individual, Group and Organizational Level

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Decision Making for the Project Leader

  1. 1. DECISION MAKING for the PROJECT LEADER Raza Usman, PMP® May 2014
  2. 2. Focus on Decisions in Projects In project management, decisions are required throughout the Triple Constraints: • Scope (how much functionality, at what quality level, for how many users, etc.) • Schedule (can activities be crashed, can activities be aligned differently, can a provider change its schedule, can you skip/defer activities, can milestones be missed or eliminated, etc.) • Cost (can a segment of work be allowed to come in over cost; can you reduce the cost of a segment; can you afford a scope change, etc.)
  3. 3. The Anatomy of Decision Making Prefrontal Complex is highly implicated in decision making The Good Guys The Bad Guys DLPFC OPC Fear is the Mind Killer
  4. 4. The Anatomy of Decision Making DLPFC Verbal & Design Fluency Planning Working Memory Reasoning Problem Solving Shift Set OPC Impulse Control Maintenance of Set Monitor Ongoing Behavior Rewards based on Sensory Stimuli
  5. 5. Steps to Improve Decision Making Nutrition Daily Multivitamin Good Carbs Protein from Diverse Sources (FISH, FISH, FISH!). Fruits Vegetables Weight loss improves memory and alters brain activity in overweight women June 17, 2013, Endocrine Society Cardio – 30 min (Doctor!) Strength 1-2 Hrs (Doctor!) Yoga Exercise Exercise reorganizes the brain to be more resilient to stress Posted July 3, 2013, Princeton University Sound Sight Touch 30 MinMindfulness Meditation Mindfulness meditation can improve decision-making, new study suggests February 12, 2014, Wharton
  6. 6. Decision Making : Introduction • We will be looking at decision making failures at the: Individual Group & Organizational level
  7. 7. The CEO decides • It entails simultaneous decisions at multiple levels Decisions are made in the room • work happens “off-line” Meetings ratify decisions Decisions are intellectual exercises • social pressures, politics and emotions influence decision making Managers analyze & decide • Decision making is non-linear Decision Making: Myths
  8. 8. Individual Level
  9. 9. Bias Social Halo Effect Self Serving Bias Memory Bias Rosy retrospection Consistency Decision Making Bias Not Invented Here Basic Rate fallacy Confirmation bias Probability / Belief Bias Overconfidence effect Subadditivity effect Optimism bias Ingroup Bias Hindsight bias Déformation Professionnelle Recency effect Planning Fallacy Fundamental Attribution Error Semmelweis reflex Many More
  10. 10. Bias Social Halo Effect Self Serving Bias Memory Bias Rosy retrospection Consistency Decision Making Bias Not Invented Here Basic Rate fallacy Confirmation bias Probability / Belief Bias Overconfidence effect Subadditivity effect Optimism bias Civilians vs Defense Personnel Ingroup Bias Hindsight bias Déformation Professionnelle Recency effect Planning Fallacy Fundamental Attribution Error Semmelweis reflexLook at things according to one’s own profession, discounting the broader view point
  11. 11. Bias Social Halo Effect Self Serving Bias Memory Bias Rosy retrospection Consistency Decision Making Bias Not Invented Here Basic Rate fallacy Confirmation bias Probability / Belief Bias Overconfidence effect Subadditivity effect Optimism bias Civilians vs Defense Personnel Ingroup Bias Hindsight bias Déformation Professionnelle Recency effect Many More Planning Fallacy Fundamental Attribution Error Semmelweis reflexLook at things according to one’s own profession, discounting the broader view point The tendency to underestimate task completion times. The tendency to reject new evidence if it contradicts an established paradigm.
  12. 12. Framing Frames are mental models-comprising of tacit beliefs and assumptions- that allow people to create simple mental models for complex situations. Two Competing Theories Expected Value or Average when assessing a complex situation Psychologists (Tversky / Kahnmen) Wording (framing) of problem matters Framing as gain or loss matters e.g. How many patients survive as opposed to how many patients died Beliefs & Assumptions
  13. 13. Framing Frames are mental models-comprising of tacit beliefs and assumptions- that allow people to create simple mental models for complex situations. Intelligence Agents May Be Prone to Irrational Decision Making U.S. intelligence agents may be more prone to irrational inconsistencies in decision making compared to college students and post-college adults Beliefs & Assumptions
  14. 14. Leaders Don’t impose your frame on your team. Don’t constrict alternatives Teams Be aware of frames Consider multiple frames Define problems in different ways Test Assumptions Framing: Solutions
  15. 15. Bias: In Project Management A project manager frames current reports in light of positive past reports. (Framing) Seeks out data to confirm his frame. (Confirmation) Disregards evidence that current data may indicate deviations from baseline (Semmelweis Reflex)
  16. 16. Intuition Intuition The ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning = Past Experience Intuitive Decision-Making Based on Expertise May Deliver Better Results Than Analytical Approach Intuition may be just as effective in decision-making as an analytical approach
  17. 17. Intuition: Communication Karl Weick's 5-step process for communicating intuitive decisions to a team. 1. Here’s what I think we face. 2. Here’s what I think we should do. 3. Here’s why. 4. Here’s what we should keep our eye on. 5. Now, talk to me.
  18. 18. Analogy: Merits | Demerits Merits • Allows cumulative knowledge application. • Avoid historical mistakes. • Allows lateral thinking. Demerits • Focusing on similarities ignoring differences. • Bias towards past salient analogies. • Not validating assumptions Associative Reasoning
  19. 19. Analogy : Improving our reasoning Neustadt and May techniques 2 Lists similarities differences Another List: •Known •Unknown •Presumed Goal: Separate Fact from Assumption
  20. 20. Steps of Decision Analysis in Project Management Decision Framing Modelling the Situation Quantitative Analysis Actual Performance Tracking • Identify Risk • Assessing Business Situations • Determine Success Criteria • Generate Alternatives • Quantify Uncertainties • Quantify Risk • Is additional Information Required • Decide on Course of Action
  21. 21. Tools of Decision Analysis RACI Chart Decision Threshold Matrix Brainstorming Delphi Technique Group Decision Making Techniques Mind Mapping WBS Project Scope Statement Project Network Diagram Estimating Critical Path Analysis Monte Carlo Analysis Variance Analysis
  22. 22. Group
  23. 23. Wisdom of the Crowds Groups can make better decisions than individuals • Pool diverse talents • Achieve synergistic benefits Many groups do not realize those potential synergies; • they experience process losses (do worse than the best individual in the group) Preconditions Diversity: Many different disciplines, perspectives, and areas of expertise. Decentralization: people with local and specific knowledge can contribute. Aggregation of individual judgments. Independence: no pressures for social conformity.
  24. 24. Groupthink : Symptoms | Results | Signs Groupthink • Team pressured into conformity • Loss of critical thinking. • Yes Sir!
  25. 25. Groupthink : Symptoms | Results | Signs Invulnerability Conformance Superiority Stereotyping No Democracy False unanimity Self Censorship Control and filtering of information Few Alternatives Risk planning suffers Rejected options not reconsidered Outside help not sought Confirmation bias Contingency planning suffers Meetings are not contentious Junior members stay quiet Planning stage is more about paperwork than ideas Meetings dominated by few. Rubberstamping Protocol across communication levels is rigid Dissent not tolerated
  26. 26. Groupthink Women Speak Less When They're Outnumbered “Results showed that the consensus-building approach was particularly empowering for women who were outnumbered by men in their group” Prevent Groupthink by using the Delphi Technique
  27. 27. Debate : Solutions Channel Debate Refocus attention and provide alternative view. Ask polite non threatening questions. Enhance creativity & understanding with creative data & ideas. Revisit basic facts and assumptions Keep common ground ready for intervention. Reevaluate discussions for lessons learnt. Share best practices Are questions probing? Is group seeking new information ? Are revisions based on feedback? Is ambiguous data interpreted? Are new arguments being used or are people entrenched? Quiet individuals withdrawing?
  28. 28. Justice Decisions require consensus & convergent thought Effective Teams need to implement good decisions Consensus can only be reached if the decision process is deemed to be fair People don’t only care about the verdict. They also care about the process. People losing a verdict were happier if the process was deemed fair Components of a Fair Process 1. People are free to express their views 2. People agree decision making process is fair 3. Leadership listens and incorporates ideas 4. Clear rationale for final decision is given
  29. 29. Small Wins Gather views & ideas Filter Decide Prescriptive process model • Filter • DecideIdea • Filter • DecideIdea • Filter • DecideIdea Small Wins process model Avoids Polarization. Increases Productivity Careful of • People going back on their decisions. Keep people accountable. • Losing the trust of others.
  30. 30. Organization
  31. 31. Normalizing Deviance Diane Vaughan’s Unexpected Expected Accepted Added to organizational culture
  32. 32. Practical Drift Scott Snook Organization • Rules • Procedures Organizational Units • Practical Action • Locally mandated & efficient Organizational Unit • Local action become accepted practice Organizational Unit • Practice drifts from procedure
  33. 33. Avoidance tips for Practical Drift and Normalizing Deviance 1. Organizational structures and systems transparency. 2. Avoid fast fixes. 3. Open Communication. 4. Procedural hand-over of information 5. Disrupt silos. 6. Design effective cross-functional teams. 7. After-action reviews to improve processes.
  34. 34. Proactive Problem Solving HRO : High Reliability Organization Complex organizations in high-risk environments low failure rates e.g Aircraft Carriers Path to an HRO Emphasis on failure. Avoid simplifying interpretations. Sensitivity to operations. Commitment to resilience. Expertise utilized from all levels of the organization.
  35. 35. Proactive Problem Solving Leadership Problems On time problem Identification Solving the wrong problem Leadership Requirements Proactive Problem Solving Open to solutions Right question not only right answer
  36. 36. Decision Making We looked at decision making at the: Individual Group & Organizational level
  37. 37. Thank You

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