25 Chapters
Medium 9781567262179

CHAPTER 21: Did You Make the Right Choice? Reviewing Project Decisions

Virine, Lev Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Post-project reviews of project decisions are important because they allow you to improve future decisions. However, these reviews can be influenced by a number of psychological biases. For example, management will often believe that project failures were more readily foreseeable than they actually were. A corporate knowledge base should provide a source of information about previous decisions and their outcomes.

Now that you have completed your project, you have reached the point where you need to review and understand any lessons learned from it. When you perform your project reviews, there are some questions that need to be addressed:

Which choices were correct and incorrect? Why?

Did you correctly identify risks and assign their probabilities and outcomes? Did you plan your risk responses properly?

How do the results of your quantitative analysis compare with the actual data? If they are different, why?

This is one of the most important steps in the decision analysis process because it will improve decision-making in the future. Most organizations perform these assessments, either formally or informally.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781567262179

APPENDIX C Risk Templates

Virine, Lev Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

We recommend using this generic risk template for identifying risks in all types of projects.

The following generic risk template has separate external and internal issues. It can be useful for construction projects where external issues play a large role.

This risk template can be useful for IT-related projects, particularly for the software development projects that are managed based on the Rational Unified Process or other software development processes (Kruchten 2000; Larman 2002). Risk categories in this template are associated with Rational Unified Process workflows.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781567262179

CHAPTER 19: Making a Choice with Multiple Objectives

Virine, Lev Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

We recognize that accumulation of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere poses risks…. But the actions must consider the costs and the uncertainties that remain.

—REX TILLERSON

CHAIRMAN AND CEO, EXXONMOBIL

Multi-criteria decision-making is a process that helps you incorporate conflicting objectives into your decision-making. The mental strategies we use to make choices with multiple objectives are the recognition, lexicographic, and elimination-by-aspect heuristics, among others. There are two approaches to multi-criteria decision-making: (1) convert all nonmonetary criteria to monetary equivalents, and (2) use special models and methodologies, such as a scoring model, to combine criteria of a different nature.

Global warming is one of the most complex, controversial, and highly political topics that can be found today—which makes it a good subject to use as we examine the process of weighting different criteria in decision-making. We see the benefits of economic growth, yet we also want to protect the environment. Measuring the effect that economic development has on climate change has a lot of uncertainties, for predicting economic processes and forecasting climate change are both inexact sciences. The main question is how to balance these conflicting criteria and make correct decisions. Similar types of problems, though not as complex, arise all the time in our projects and in our personal lives:

See All Chapters
Medium 9781567262179

CHAPTER 12: Project Valuation Models

Virine, Lev Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Quantitative project decision analysis can be performed using a project valuation model, which in most cases is a project schedule or an economic model. A number of schedule network analysis techniques are used in project management, including the critical path method, critical chain methods, event chain methodology, and resource leveling. Influence diagrams can also be used to create a project valuation model. Modeling based on the agile approach to project management does not require determining all project details up front because it focuses on short project iterations with tangible deliverables.

Who do you think are the best project managers? One could argue that they are those who use valuation models to help them understand the process without actually experiencing the process. A project manager can learn how to model a project from the criminals in popular action movies, who always seem to have amazing abilities for precise project planning and execution. Unfortunately, for these characters, in most movies they also have problems with project closing, so the loot ends up on a bus overhanging a cliff. In spite of this, you really believe that they deserve some reward for the slick execution of the project (Figure 12.1).

See All Chapters
Medium 9781567262179

CHAPTER 20: Adaptive Project Management

Virine, Lev Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Adaptive project management is a powerful method that incorporates constant learning and improvement. Quantitative analysis helps compare original assumptions with actual project data. Instead of making an irreversible major decision at the start of a project, it is important to focus on making small sequential choices. Adaptive project management can be implemented only in a creative business environment, where potential issues and problems can be identified and corrected at an early stage.

After the framing, modeling, and analysis phases of our work, we finally come to one of the important milestones in the project—the project launch. Why is it so monumental? Primarily because many projects never make it to this stage. If the decision process is working correctly, the weakness in a project will be seen and the project will not be launched.

As we start to execute the project plan, we now have the opportunity to see how the project progresses in actuality, no longer just in theory, and make necessary adjustments to our original plan. This process is called adaptive management. Adaptive management is a process of continually improving decisions by learning from the outcomes of decisions previously taken.

See All Chapters

See All Chapters