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March 2, 2015

Project Planning & Decision Making

By: Manikandan Chandrasekharan, Technology Consultant

Decision making is a challenging task for most individuals in life. Two of the most important aspects to get a desired result out of a project are:

  1. Planning
  2. Decision Making

Planning: There are other peripheral factors influencing the outcome of result as well such as team members involved, monetary input requirements, and etcetera. But these peripheral factors are part of the whole planning process. A desired end result means all the deliverables to be met and the looked-for check boxes to be ticked. The end result would have to be broken down into small milestones achievable at different stages of the activity occurring over a period of time. Time and type of milestone/activity become the key elements in deciding which of the smaller milestones should be done earlier than others and which pecking order would eventually lead to the desired end goal. Multiple scenarios to be accounted for and possible deviations that might occur during the activity progression would also have to be considered. This could mean that more than one option is available to pursue and different plans would have to be laid out accordingly.

This doesn’t stop here. All the preparations done by planning are for the next part of the process which is decision making. Decision making needs Decision Makers. Large Corporations pay big bucks and valuable stock options in the company to get the best Decision Makers for their firm. Why would they pay these Decision Makers heavily? Why give them lucrative stock options? The answer to this is in the Decision making section down below. The job profile for Decision Makers is a tough one and not something that is suited for more than a select few within the working community.

Decision Making: Multiple ways to achieve the end goal or the desired final outcome would mean multiple plans. Which ones to choose? Which way forward is the best of the available options? How to get the top management’s buy in to pursue down that path? For any project at a company involving a team, multiple decision makers could be found. A design approach would need a Business Analyst or a Solution Engineer to decide what is the best approach, a release of a product to business users would need decision making by the Change Management team leader, a product delivery approach would have to be taken by aTechnology Delivery Manager and a Project Manager would have to handle all these resources and their team members that are on the project and make the final decisions on some of the key aspects of the project. As a Project Manager, s/he would be accountable for the actions and outcome of those actions. Organizational structure of companies differ from one another but the bottom-line is that decision making comes at different levels and all decisions made would have to be comprehensive and effective in order to get the desired final outcome.

A company needs the best decision making resources to get the decisions right and deliverables on time. A common profile of a Decision Maker would be that of someone with exceptional leadership skills, strong subject matter expertise or domain knowledge, been in the industry for considerable period of time, lead projects at a similar capacity or in similar situations, and a guile to make top notch decisions. The actions by these individuals would drive the progress of a project and the momentum at which the deliverables are met. Some decisions might not be favorable during the project activity and these individuals would have to quickly come up with alternate solutions and decide upon one keeping multiple scenarios in mind. A project is also subject to risk and mitigating risk is also one of the key things to decide upon by these decision makers. Most project plans and scheduled tasksface issues-some small and some others that are large and needing immediate attention. Decision Makers would have to consult among their team members, lead from the front and try to resolve the issues as quickly as they can.

All this doesn’t come easy. And that’s why these individuals are hard to find and paid large bucks. Giving them stock options in the company is an investment letting the individual know that as the company grows, the stock value grows and so is the monetary value of the stocks held by the person.