Have you ever been faced with a tough choice but instead chosen to hold off on making any type of decision whatsoever? As it turns out, the very decision to stall was actually some kind of decision – but it probably failed miserably in giving you a viable solution to your problem. Instead, it prolonged the inevitable because a choice – any kind of choice – still needed to be made.
Making decisions, whether in the workplace or in one’s personal life, is admittedly never easy. We like to weigh the pros and the cons, and tend to get lost in the process of sifting through the information at hand. However, the inability to make a decision can end up being a failure. In the IT world in particular, the lack of a decision on a project’s course can lead to unwanted outcomes such as decreased productivity and elevated costs.
Decision makers tend to play into their own fear of failure and become paralyzed when it is time to make critical choices in the management of their project. To tackle these fears, it is important to understand the often cited reasons (below) for holding off on making project management decisions. Here are a few myths that decision makers need to consider when faced with an important choice:
1) “Too much risk”: All situations involve some level of risk or conflict. However, in each situation are potential opportunities that should be seized, rather than missed. At that point, “the only true failure lies in failure to start.”
2) “Stay on target”: Not making a decision – because you think it will help your project adhere to its original deadline – can essentially hinder its progress and keep it from being delivered on time.
3) “Keep costs under control”: Indecisiveness generally leads to soaring project costs, since everything – workers and their labor – comes to a halt. Making no decision at all can actually be more costly than just making a decision (good or bad).
4) “Is this your final decision?”: Project managers or stakeholders quite often put off making a decision because they are afraid it will be final. However, with the advent of Agile software methods, this is no longer the case. You can simply adjust your decisions along the way without incurring exorbitant costs.
5) “Can’t compromise quality”: Many decision makers are fearful of being stuck with poor results from a “bad” decision. In fact a “bad” decision is simply one in which you ignored your better sense of judgment even in the face of the information at hand. A poor outcome does not necessarily mean that it was the result of a bad decision – it was simply the undesired consequences of a decision.
In the end, decision makers should put aside their fears, analyze the given information, and make an informed choice. Nowadays, we can easily rebound from unwanted outcomes by changing our approach and steering the project to its desired course – a successful result.