It's Your Move


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It's Your Move

Creating Valuable Decision Options When You Don’t Know What to Do

About the Book

Please Note: This title is no longer available here. It is now republished by Springer/Nature/Apress.

The simple, routine decisions we often face usually present us with a few mutually exclusive options. Do we get the vanilla ice cream or the chocolate? Do we travel to Disney World for vacation or the dude ranch in Alberta? Do we take the scenic route to work today or the timeliest route? We usually address these decisions by weighing in our mind the net effect of the relative pros and cons of each choice without generally worrying that the consequences will be beyond our ability to handle them should they turn out contrary to our preferences, even significantly so.

Business decisions often present us with a more complex situation, however. In these cases, we frequently face multiple coordinated decision options in which the possible combinations of options approach hundreds if not thousands. How do we possibly consider the pros and cons of all those options without getting mired in analysis paralysis or, throwing our hands up in frustration, shooting from the hip to deal with the consequences reactively as they arise? The answer is: we don't have to resort to either extreme.

The purpose of this short tutorial is to show you how to use three thinking devices called the Decision Hierarchy, the Strategy Table, and a Qualitative Description table to frame creative decision strategies that effectively reduce the decision complexity of business case analysis. It gives you the ability to create the right combinations of decision options for analysis without testing all of them or simplistically guessing at the best pathway to take at too high of a level of consideration.

The tutorial addresses the following issues:

  • Why do you need this tool?
  • Use a Decision Hierarchy to partition decision categories and identify decision options
  • Use the Strategy Table to create spanning sets (or thematic threads) of global value
  • Develop qualitative descriptions (rationales) of decision strategies for effective interdepartment communication
  • What you should and should not do next

The tutorial also includes a downloadable template for creating your own creative decision strategies.

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    • Project Management
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About the Author

Robert D. Brown III
Robert D. Brown III

Robert D. Brown III is the President of Incite! Decision Technologies LLC, a consultancy supporting senior decision-makers facing complex, high-risk opportunities. These opportunities usually include strategic planning, project selection, planning & risk management, and project portfolio analysis & management.

Mr. Brown has devoted his twenty-plus-year career to providing solutions to his clients’ complex problems by employing creative thinking and advanced quantitative business, engineering, and systems analysis. His client experience spans diverse industrial and commercial fields including petroleum & chemicals, energy, utilities, logistics & transportation, pharmaceuticals, electronics manufacturing, telecommunications, IT, commercial real estate, federal agencies, and education.

Through Incite, Mr. Brown delivers analysis, decision support tools and systems, and training in decision-making and risk management. His goal is to help clients measure the value and the risk associated with the important decisions they face in order to make informed trade-offs and choices.

Mr. Brown graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1992 with a Bachelors of Mechanical Engineering (Co-op program).

Reader Testimonials

Bob de Wolff
Bob de Wolff

Mr. Brown has done an admirable job presenting a very useful approach to making choices, and then providing tools that will help the reader. The Decision Hierarchy and Strategy Table together are worth many times the price of this book.

Anya Faingersh
Anya Faingersh excellent starting point for those who struggle with making decisions systematically.

Reader "Archimedes"
Reader "Archimedes"

A clear and concise guide to aid with the decisions we encounter. Robert's book provides specific and detailed models along with insightful questions for navigating complex issues, not just convoluted theory.

Table of Contents

    • 1.1 Acknowledgments
    • 1.2 “What Should I Do?”
    • 1.3 Why You Need This Tutorial
    • 1.4 The Full Scope of Effective Decision-Making
    • 1.5 Definitions
    • 1.6 Complementary Resource: Integrated Decision Hierarchy and Strategy Table Template
    • 5.1 What You SHOULD Do
    • 5.2 What You Should NOT Do
    • 6.1 Decision Hierarchy worksheet
      • 6.1.1 Decision Issues
      • 6.1.2 Decision Hierarchy
    • 6.2 Strategy Table worksheet
      • 6.2.1 Strategy Table
      • 6.2.2 Simplified Strategy Table
    • 6.3 Strategy Rationales worksheet
    • 7.1 How to be a Business Analytics Jedi
      • 7.1.1 Initial Discussion
      • 7.1.2 Decision Simulation - Let’s Make A Deal
      • 7.1.3 Clarifying Objectives
      • 7.1.4 Generating Creative Alternatives
      • 7.1.5 Clarifying the Sources and Effects of Uncertainty
      • 7.1.6 Understanding Risk & Uncertainty
      • 7.1.7 Taking Uncertainty into Account
      • 7.1.8 Rolling It All Up
    • 7.2 To Framing…And Beyond!
      • 7.2.1 Immediate Application of Concepts
      • 7.2.2 Beyond Framing
  • Notes

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