As humans, we’re defined by our DNA, our morphology, but as people we’re defined by the decisions we make and the decisions that we don’t make. Decisions that help us succeed and improve or in different aspects of our lives. Like different managers in an organization, project managers too have to make a lot of critical decisions before, during and after the project. These decisions determine the success and failure of your project. Flawless planning, scheduling, managing resources depend on a project manager’s ability to make swift and correct decisions at the right time. This can happen only when a project manager is equipped with the necessary skills and without these skills, a project manager can never make better decisions.
When it comes to making accurate and timely decisions, all that project managers have to do is to analyze the situation critically and avoid making mistakes along the way. To ensure that you make the right decisions, here are a few tips that will help you in solving complex project problems.
8 Tips How Project Managers Can Make Better Decisions
1. Take Minor Decisions First
With the dynamic nature of projects, project managers do not have time to allocate to making decisions all the time. Therefore, as a project manager you should get minor decisions out of the way first. Do not waste your time on small decisions because it will leave you with less time for making key decisions that influence the success of the project. As a result, you will be in a hurry to make major decisions, and decisions made in haste are mostly ill-informed and bound to fail. Prioritize decisions on the basis of the magnitude of impact they make on your operations to achieve better results.
2. Establish Criteria for Major Decisions
The biggest reason why executives and project managers face backlash from different corners of the organization is the lack of criteria for making major decisions. To avoid these situations, formulate a policy; establish decision-making rules and criteria so that your subordinates do not feel that the decision came without any thought. Decisions imposed on your team members will lead to workplace conflicts. More importantly, project decisions taken according to well-established criteria are acceptable for everyone, whether they are your clients or team members.
3. Know All the Facts and Information
Another important aspect that project managers should focus on is to collect all the facts and information about the problem before addressing it. Taking decision without analyzing data is like shooting an arrow in the dark. This approach never pays dividends and you should not put your project success on the line. Project decisions taken without proper knowledge and information can have a serious repercussions.
Remember that the margin for error is non-existent in project management and one wrong decision could lead to a chain of bad decisions leading to project debacle. Hence, project managers should always be on their toes and fully aware about the situation before making the final decision otherwise, you will never be able to complete projects successfully.
4. Conduct Comprehensive Analysis
If you want to enjoy the fruits of your hard labor, then it is imperative that you conduct an in-depth analysis before leaping on to making critical decisions. Conduct a situational analysis; prepare a feasibility report highlighting the benefits and cost associated with the decision. Assess the risks associated with the decision and what rewards you will gain if you go for a particular direction.
All these considerations take you one-step closer to making the right decision, which would do wonders for your project. Timing of the decision also counts because the right decision taken at the wrong time is futile for the project and will only result in wastage of precious resources and time.
5. Consult With Stakeholders
Instead of ruling like a dictator and imposing your decision over others, it is highly recommended that you consult with all project stakeholders before taking major project decisions. Take the feedback and inputs from your clients, top management and your team members. This will make the decision-making process easier for you. Try to keep all the stakeholders engaged in the decision-making process, as it builds trust instead of keeping them in the dark.
6. Be Flexible
The dynamic nature of being a project manager forces you to be flexible in your decision-making, especially if you want to become a successful project manager. Adjusting to different situations is key to success in project management world. Project managers who are rigid in their decisions will find it tough to survive in today’s project management environment.
7. Avoid Bias
Do not let biases come in the way of your decision and be objective and fair in decision-making, otherwise, your decisions will create more problems for you instead of solving them. It will leave a bad taste in the mouth of your team members and rifts will rise between them. Reward team members based on their performances instead of your personal likes and dislikes. Decision marred by biasness will only cause more harm to your project than good. It is better to take decisions in the light of facts rather than prejudices.
8. Think of the Consequences
Although, most people will advise you to take decisions without worrying about their consequences but following that approach could also lead you into trouble. To be on the safe side, it is better to predict the future consequences of your decisions before implementing them. Making bold decisions and experimenting is not a bad thing but be sure to take calculated risks. Project managers everywhere do not have access to unlimited funds.
It is better to delay or avoid decisions, which have negative consequences for your project and company. If you are not sure about a decision, consult with experts. Even though, worrying too much about the consequence will stop you from taking action but completely ignoring the future consequences could result in project failure.
Let us sum it all up. Start by establishing a decision-making charter and take all the stakeholder’s opinions so that you do not have to deal with conflicts later on. Critically analyze the situation and take action accordingly but before that do critical analysis that cover the pros and cons of taking a particular decision. Do not let your personal likes and dislikes come in the way and make decisions based on facts rather than on biasness. Lastly, think of the impact your decisions will have on the future and if the consequences are negative, then there’s a need to revisit the drawing board.