Timely decisions are critical to the success of the project and the lifestyle we want to maintain. No one wants to be forced into a rushed decision, no matter how big or small. Good decisions require a solid foundation, good information, and perspective.
Here are some principles to keep in mind in order to make the process more effective.
- Alignment - A solid foundation is set when a team is properly aligned, which is crucial for achieving common goals and fostering a cohesive work environment. When team members are aligned, they share a unified vision, ensuring that everyone understands their Roles & Responsibilities and the overall objectives. This clarity minimizes confusion, reduces conflicts, and enhances communication. Aligned teams are more efficient, as individuals collaborate seamlessly, leveraging each other’s strengths. Moreover, alignment promotes a sense of collective responsibility, motivating team members to actively contribute towards shared success. In essence, alignment acts as the compass that guides a team towards synergy and effectiveness in reaching its objectives.
- Executive Summary - Keep is short, to the point, and whenever possible provide your recommendation on the decision and why. People respond to a recommendation better than an open ended statement. The explanation for "why" will tie back to the Risk Factors: Budget, Schedule, Quality and Risk.
- Know Your Audience... and Their Roles & Responsibilities - The messaging needs to be tailored to the audience.
- Communication - This is a tough one and likely will never be perfect; but, anticipating who will make the decision is important. Roles & Responsibilities need to be clearly established; so, if it isn't clear, don't just assume "someone" will --- ask! If it isn't clear, and it doesn't get cleared up, this will be a problem that will challenge the project from start to finish. In most cases, including more people will be okay and will allow someone to clarify a statement as necessary; but, make sure it is clear who you think should respond.
- Consider Other Deadlines - How the decision ties to the schedule would be addressed in the Executive Summary; but, consideration for sales promotions or other issues that could unnecessarily escalate the the priority level of the decision.
The entry door decision on Ridgeview Building A is a good example of how complicated this can become. Initially, there were two doors that were compared; but, later it was discovered that the selected door couldn't be provided by the supplier in Juneau. The Executive Summary for these doors wasn't perfect; but, having the information side-by-side helps people to see the comparison better.
There were a few challenges with this decision:
- The price was based on a sales promotion that expired on Sunday; so, the team had to scrambled over the weekend to make it happen.
- The vendor wasn't clear on their pricing (Home Depot wouldn't guarantee the Pro discount until Monday) and gave the impression that we were getting pressured into making a decision.
- The Roles & Responsibilities for these decisions has not been clear; therefore, the communication was primarily between Isaac, Skip and Garrett but likely should have included Ryan and Vance. Budget and Schedule are the primary focuses for Ryan and Garrett; whereas, Vance seems to be more in tune with the Quality. The team should discuss who needs to be involved in what decisions. For example, if a product meets all 4 of the Risk Factors, then the decision should be made by the Superintendent and/or PM; whereas, if one of the Risk Factors is in question, like Quality, then the question could just be addressed to Vance. In the Building A Entry Doors case, there was risk with both Budget and Quality; hence, the decision needed to include Ryan, Vance, and Garrett.
Keep in mind that the decision making process takes time and often comes back to something very similar to what the "expert" recommended. This should never be offensive to the expert since steps required to "buy-into" an idea can't be skipped for most people.