Decisions Under Uncertainty

Making decisions with inadequate information, especially when it involves people and financial resources, is difficult and frustrating. However, there are some tools and techniques you can use to make the process more palatable. And remember: cool heads prevail!

There is never a situation where ALL information is available. After all, there are no guarantees of what will happen in the future, and all decisions are a "gamble" or some sort on what will happen in the future. Your job, as the project manager, is to peck away at the problem with all you have to reduce the level of risk and improve the likelihood of achieving the desired outcome.

When we make decisions, a combination of things from the head, heart, and gut come into play:

  1. What is the up side? What is to be gained? What opportunity cost, or opportunity lost, could result if you do not move ahead? Or does something else have a higher opportunity cost presented if you actually do move ahead with this decision?!
  2. What is the down side? What are the risks, and how impactful are they? Is there a way you can control them?
  3. Expanding further on risks, are the "invisible forces of the universe" with me? Is you decision in harmony with up/down, weather, life, death, forces of nature, etc..... growing up, growing old, graduating, getting married, being independent, taking responsibility, not taking responsibility!

Cool heads prevail! In the face of tough decisions, dissect the issue into logical pieces and try to increase your chances of success. Be sure to cooperate with the inevitable. And once you and your team have done your due diligence, make a firm and definite decision. Then switch into implementation gear and monitor what happens closely, and respond to mitigate risks as required.