Project Management and Decision Making

It’s no secret that decision-making is a large portion and a key component of project management. Many of the decisions project managers make relate to risk management and response and dealing with the volatility of customer requirements.

Each decision should have its own process. Project management leaders need to make decisions based on project information, specifications, and data, rather than gut instinct. It’s up the project manager or organization to decide and determine how decisions are best made for the project, the team, and the customer.

A lot of decision-making greatly depends on risk management and response. Most decisions can be determined and analyzed by first analyzing risk. What are the risks of the project? How do each of those risks impact the project as a whole, the outcome, and ultimately, the customer? Each answer to these questions can help project managers in their decision-making processes.

Another aid to project management decision-making lies within communication. After properly analyzing customer requirements, the risks involved and their impacts, and even analyzing previously documented and archived projects with similar specs, you can also open up the issue at hand to team members and ask for their feedback. This could be via email or even in meetings.

Decision-making also heavily relies on resources and resource availability. If a particular decision involves extra work or a change in specs, which can often occur particularly among customer requirements that are volatile, then it may be necessary to allocate additional resources. This may not be an option if cost or schedule are or may become issues.

If you find yourself under a time crunch to make a particular decision, it’s still important to set aside a specific time frame to make a decision. This could involve researching archived projects, gathering information or feedback from teams and other resources, or even putting together a proper report or analysis that shows both qualitative and quantitative data for each side of the decision.

Even in life, making decisions shouldn’t be taken lightly or made impulsively. Each decision takes careful consideration, research, and analysis. The same goes for project management, regardless of the role or industry. Remember, that all in all, good decisions make good projects, which equal happy customers.

All in all, when project managers are faced with making decisions, they should first ask themselves: how soon does the decision need to be made? What are the pros and cons of a particular decision, and/or what are the impacts of such a decision? And finally, is the project manager willing to accept responsibility for such a decision?

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