6Developing Alternatives

6.0 Finding Alternatives

A major part of problem-solving and ultimately decision-making involves the identification and analysis of a finite set of alternatives described in terms of some evaluative criteria. These criteria may be benefit or cost in nature, or the criteria could simply be the adherence to the cost, schedule, and scope baselines of the project. Then the problem might be to rank these alternatives in terms of how attractive they are to the decision-maker(s) when all the criteria are considered simultaneously. Another goal might be to just find the best alternative or to determine the relative priority of each alternative.

The number of alternatives is often limited by the constraints imposed upon the project. For example, if the actual schedule is exceeding the baseline schedule, then the project manager may have five alternatives: overtime, performing some work in parallel rather than in series, adding more resources to the project, outsourcing some of the work to a lower cost supplier or reducing the scope of the project. Each alternative will be accompanied by advantages and disadvantages. If the goal is to lower the costs, then there may be only one viable alternative, namely reducing the scope.

Because of the complexity of projects, the project manager cannot be expected to determine all of the alternatives in a vacuum. The team should be involved in the identification and prioritization of the alternatives. If the team does not ...

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