Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Simple Solid Decision Making

Type: Process
Status: final
Version: 2008-02-01

Gist: how to make well-grounded decisions even if you cannot use Tom Gilb's Impact Estimation method for some reason (see Gilb, Competitive Engineering, Elsevier 2005). Decision making is the process of choosing a solution to a problem from a set of solutions, given a set of goals.

Sources: Stefan Brombach (http://www.dreizeit.de/), Kai-J├╝rgen Lietz (Das Entscheider-Buch, Hanser 2007), Tom Gilb, own thoughts.

S1: Make clear the goals of your endeavour. you need to understand what you want to achieve, what you want to keep and what you want to avoid. Consider using the Decomposing Goals principles.

S2: If you have many 'small' goals, say more than 12, then consider integrating some of them in a more abstract goal. Example: 'low costs for running the application' and 'don't exceed the budget' could be combined into a 'cost' goal. If you have to be quick and can't afford doing step S1 (please really consider doing it!) take the common three goals {time, scope, quality}.

S3: Compare each goal with every other goal. The more important goal gets a point. If you can't decide which one is more important, give 0,5 points to either goal. In the end, add 1 point to every goal for every goal has at least 1 point. Now you know the ranking of your goals in terms of importance.

S4: Go find at least three different realistic 'solutions' or ways of achieving your goals. You need three or more to have a little room for manoeuvres. Bear in mind, if you only have one solution there's nothing to decide.

S5: Using a 0..3 scale, iterate through all your solutions and goals and again give points to the solutions. 0 means solution X does not help achieving goal Y at all, 3 means it helps a great deal. Multiply these points with the importance of the goal from step S3.

S6: For each solution, add all products from step S5. The solution with the largest sum wins.

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