Quality Decisions

Big Ones and little ones

What’s most important: getting the big decisions right, or the lots of little ones? Answer: both.

Most of the literature, and emphasis in project management, is on getting the big ones right. Justly so. Before we get into that, though, a moment on the little ones.




Remember this, and only this: the decisions we make in a split second (are what count).

-The novel “Split Second” by Alex Kava

The integral over the project life, of all of the individual decisions made and actions taken by each of the project team members, is what makes or breaks the project. These are based on the quality and skills of each person, daily circumstance, and the degree to which each person has “signed up” and aligned with the overall project objectives. Getting the big decisions right obviously helps with the alignment component , but to use a kitchen analogy: no matter how good the sharpening system, you need good steel in each knife.

Okay, on to the big stuff…..

Decision Quality

My thanks to the good people at Chevron , who tipped me on to this, and who have incorporated this matrix into their project milestone decision making process.

From the book “The Smart Organization” by Matheson and Matheson (broadly applicable, though primarily focused on R&D)

I will reproduce the chain, then a sample spider diagram of two decision making processes, with the author’s tabular explanation.

The overall point seems to be this: identify the basis upon which decisions are made. Then, pay particular attention to the weakest areas, and either (a) bolster these aspects, or (b) accommodate these realities into the perceived reliability and future robustness of the decisions taken.

DQ Chain


DQ Spider

DQS Table

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