Jun 112014
 

It should come as no surprise that decision making in some flavor or another is at the heart of nearly every business book, method, conference, and article. After all, especially in business, what are we trying to learn from the past if not the answer to “why” or “how did they do that?”

Looking at any project or process technique, any analysis, any case study in nearly any topic, ultimately what we’re after is making sense of the means and the ends. Any metric, measure, and indicator is — when used properly — merely a trigger, tripwire, forecast or estimate of something on which to guide the path forward.

All of project management can be summarized as a scheme to gather information to help decide the best way to avoid the risk of failure. All of process improvement can be summarized as the machinations of organizational dynamics towards understanding performance. All of training, organizational development and even lean and agile techniques can own some part of the ecosystem of either distributing or consolidating decision making powers.

Clearly this must be a complex topic. One we’re probably never going to get a satisfying answer on. In a recent three-part series of Cutter Executive Updates, I took on decision making from a quantitative perspective. I argued that deterministic decision-making — decision making based on analysis of and logic applied to older data — is over-used and slows down innovation, among other problems. I argued that many operations would do well to identify places where probabilistic decision making would save time and effort and produce better results — while eliminating a host of issues deterministic methods induce.

However, quantitative decision making isn’t the only facet. There are matters of culture, bias, management techniques, empowerment and autonomy. There’s collective, centralized, or distributed decision-making. There’s decision making from the individual perspective and at the national or global levels and everything in between. There are matters of motivation, influence, and social pressures. Truly there is no end to the topic.

An upcoming issue of Cutter IT Journal — with Guest Editor Hillel Glazer — invites recent stories from the trenches and expert opinions on Decision Making and useful debate on many aspects of this topic that may come in and out of focus at different times, may suit or challenge our needs, and that we can choose to use or ignore. Either one: at our own risk.

Suggested topics may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • What role does culture play in decision making? Are some decisions ever “right” or “wrong” just because it’s right or wrong in a given culture?
  • What are the top considerations in decision making? If you had a decision-making tool kit what would be in it?
  • How can decision making techniques be adapted or changed where prior methods were weak?
  • What are the characteristics of good decision makers? Are there skills, experiences, or training that matter?
  • Are we really making many decisive decisions or are we mostly just “letting things happen” and allowing mob rule move things along?
  • What are some of the juiciest personal professional experiences/cases you’ve had in good or bad decision making? What were they about?

SEND US YOUR ARTICLE IDEA by 2 July 2014.

Please send your article proposal to the Guest Editor Hillel Glazer at hglazer[at]cutter[dot]com, with a copy to Christine Generali at cgenerali[at]cutter[dot]com no later than 2 July and include an extended abstract, a short article outline showing major discussion points, and a brief bio of the author.

Accepted articles are due by 15 August 2014.

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Christine Generali

Christine Generali is a Group Publisher for Cutter Consortium - responsible for the editorial direction and content management of Cutter's flagship publication, Cutter IT Journal.

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