Published here September 2010

Introduction | Book Structure 
What We Liked | Downside | Summary


As indicated by the book's Table of Contents cited earlier, the authors describe many familiar tools and techniques, but they also introduce the reader to ones not so familiar. Also introduced are many new terms specific to the field of structured decision analysis. Indeed, they have invented a new term called "Frustrated Developer's Syndrome" (FDS).

They say "FDS manifests itself when managers and members of project teams are unable to contribute to major project decisions and are not properly rewarded for showing extra initiative and making good decisions."[17] FDS affects the very central nervous system of an organization, i.e. its corporate culture.

The authors also state that they often hear this question: "Does a decision analysis process bring any benefits or is it just extra paperwork?"

According to the authors:

"Clement and Kwit studied the use of decision analysis at the Eastman Kodak company.[18] They analyzed the decision-making in 178 projects that were carried out over a period of ten years. The projects included new product brainstorming, vendor selection, emission-reduction analysis, process analysis, and others. The project durations varied from 20 hours to one year. Clement and Kwit were trying to determine an incremental dollar value generated by decision analysis.

In most cases it was hard to measure the actual value added to Eastman Kodak's business, but their estimate was that for all the projects combined, decision analysis added more than $1 billion in value. The average value per project was between $6.65 million and $16.35 million. In addition to the monetary benefits, the decision analysis added value by promoting careful thinking about strategies, facilitating discussion among stakeholders, and providing a common framework for risk analysis and decision-making within the company.

Clement and Kwit concluded that even though it was hard to measure value in specific projects, decision analysis brought substantial value to the company."

Well, they would come to that conclusion, wouldn't they - as a result of their own "Motivational Biases"! But don't take our word for it - buy the book and reach your own conclusion. Reading the book might even help you to reach your own better decisions.

Meanwhile, the authors conclude that:[19]

"While resources will always be limited, we exacerbate resource scarcity through poor decision-making. If decision-makers in business and government can learn and practice proper decision analysis processes, this alone will lead to a major acceleration in technological innovation and productivity."

R. Max Wideman
Fellow, PMI

Downside  Downside

17. Ibid, p88
18. Clement, R., & R. Kwit, The Value of decision analysis at Eastman Kodak Company, Interfaces, 2001
19. Project Decisions - The Art and Science, Management Concepts, p273
Home | Issacons | PM Glossary | Papers & Books | Max's Musings
Guest Articles | Contact Info | Search My Site | Site Map | Top of Page