How to Make Sound Decisions

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Decision making is about selecting the best solution to deal with an issue. Solutions that involve significant investment, have big impact and long term effects, they require more effort to do the due diligence. Here are the steps to making sound decisions:

  1. Identify end goals
    Identify what you want to achieve. Describe what the outcome would look, smell and feel like. Avoid making high level, generic goals which don’t mean anything. Be specific. This defines the criteria for your solution selection.
  2. Prioritize goals
    Review the list of goals and assign a priority to each goal. Use a scale of 3, with 1 for low priority and 3 for high priority. Perfect solutions are rare. You need to determine what is most important for your business; what are the must-have’s and nice-to-have’s.
  3. List the options
    Brainstorm alternatives. Be open-minded and creative. Involve and collaborate with people who are impacted by the issues on hand. Keep in mind that investing in a new application is not necessary the panacea.
  4. Evaluate options
    Assess each option against a list of criteria. The list of criteria includes parameters pertinent to the project goals, nature of the problem, strategic alignment and factors that are unique to the solution under consideration. Do research where appropriate to understand what the best practices are.Design a simple weighted model to score the options. This helps to quantify the pros and cons of each option. For options that require significant investment, perform a financial analysis to assess costs and benefits. Include financial impacts to the scoring model for overall rating.
  5. Determine scope of change
    Identify changes and evaluate their impacts. This is important especially when significant changes are effected. Scope of change influences your choice and timing of implementation. Do not underestimate the work required to manage the people side of change.
  6. Assess risks
    Identify risks associated with each option. This includes resource availability, timing, implementation approach, and exogenous factors which you have no control but have an impact of your success.

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