Project Decisions, 2nd Edition, 2nd Edition

Book description

This new edition gives project managers practical methods and tools to make the right decisions while juggling multiple objectives, risks and uncertainties, and stakeholders.

Project management requires you to navigate a maze of multiple and complex decisions that are an everyday part of the job. To be effective, you must know how to make rational choices with your projects, what processes can help to improve these choices, and what tools are available to help you with decision-making.

An entertaining and easy-to-read guide to a structured project decision-making process, Project Decisions will help you identify risks and perform basic quantitative and qualitative risk and decision analyses. Lev Virine and Michael Trumper use their understanding of basic human psychology to show you how to use event chain methodology, establish creative business environments, and estimate project time and costs. Each phase of the process is described in detail, including a review of both its psychological aspects and quantitative methods.

Table of contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Contents
  8. PART 1 Introduction to Project Decision Analysis
    1. CHAPTER 1 Project Decision Analysis: What Is It?
      1. The Burden of Poor Decision-Making
      2. Why Do We Make Wrong Decisions?
      3. Decision Analysis as a Process
      4. Normative and Descriptive Decision Theory
      5. Driving Forces behind Project Decision Analysis
      6. A Little Bit of History
      7. Decision Analysis Today
    2. CHAPTER 2 “Gut Feel” vs. Decision Analysis: Introduction to the Psychology of Project Decision-Making
      1. Human Judgment Is Almost Always to Blame
      2. Blink or Think?
      3. Cognitive and Motivational Biases
        1. Cognitive Biases
        2. Motivational Biases
      4. Perception
      5. Bounded Rationality
      6. Heuristics and Biases
        1. Availability Heuristic
        2. Representativeness Heuristic
        3. Anchoring Heuristic
      7. Behavioral Traps
        1. Time Delay Traps
        2. Deterioration Traps
      8. Frames and Accounts
      9. Training for Project Decision-Making Skills
    3. CHAPTER 3 Understanding the Decision Analysis Process
      1. Example of Decision Analysis Process
      2. When Decision Makers Go Bad
      3. The Decision Analysis Manifesto
      4. The “3C” Principle of Project Decision Analysis
        1. Consistency
        2. Comprehensiveness
        3. Continuity
      5. Decision Analysis Process versus the PMBOK® Guide’s Project Risk Management Process
      6. Phases of the Decision Analysis Process
        1. Phase 1: Decision-Framing
        2. Phase 2: Modeling the Situation
        3. Phase 3: Quantitative Analysis
        4. Phase 4: Implementation, Monitoring, and Review
      7. Big and Small Decisions
    4. CHAPTER 4 What Is Rational Choice? A Brief Introduction to Decision Theory
      1. Decision Policy
      2. Which Choice Is Rational?
      3. Expected Value
      4. The St. Petersburg Paradox
      5. Risk-Taker versus Risk-Avoider
      6. Expected Utility
      7. Expected Utility Theory
      8. Extensions of Expected Utility Theory
      9. How to Use Expected Utility Theory
      10. Target Oriented Interpretation of Utility
      11. Descriptive Models of Decision-Making
    5. CHAPTER 5 Creativity in Project Management
      1. Creativity and Decision-Making
      2. Psychology of Creativity
      3. Creativity Blocks
        1. 1. Framing and Perceptual Blocks
        2. 2. Value-Based Blocks
        3. 3. Cultural, Organizational, and Environmental Blocks
    6. CHAPTER 6 Group Judgment and Decisions
      1. Psychology of Group Decision-Making
      2. Aggregating Judgment
      3. Group Interaction Techniques
      4. Brainstorming
      5. Tools for Facilitating Discussions
      6. A Few Words about Game Theory
    7. CHAPTER 7 Are You Allowed to Make a Decision? Or, About Decision Analysis and Organizational Culture
      1. What Is FES?
      2. Why Is FES a Problem?
      3. How Does FES Spread?
      4. Three Common Myths about FES
      5. The Roots of FES
      6. Treating FES
      7. The Second Russian Revolution
  9. PART 2 Decision-Framing
    1. CHAPTER 8 Identifying Problems and Assessing Situations
      1. Who Are the Players?
      2. Identifying Problems and Opportunities
      3. Assessing Business Situations
      4. Some Tools and Techniques
    2. CHAPTER 9 Defining Project Objectives
      1. Different Objectives and Different Criteria for Decision-Making
      2. Aligning Project Objectives
      3. Decision Analysis as an Art of Trade-Offs
      4. Project Objectives Hierarchy
      5. Maximizing the Probability of Meeting Project Objectives
    3. CHAPTER 10 Generating Alternatives and Identifying Risks
      1. Identifying Risks and Uncertainties
      2. Generating Alternatives
      3. Risk Breakdown Structures
      4. Risk Templates
      5. Risk-Response Planning
      6. Risk Registers
  10. PART 3 Modeling the Situation
    1. CHAPTER 11 The Psychology and Politics of Estimating
      1. How Do We Make Estimates?
      2. How Do We Think When We Make Estimates?
      3. Impact of Politics on Estimation
      4. Impact of Psychology on Estimation and Rule of Pi
      5. Student Syndrome
      6. Other Cognitive Biases in Estimating
      7. Further Explanations of Problems with Estimation
      8. Where Does the Problem Lie—in Psychology or Politics?
      9. Many Mental Errors and One Wrong Estimate
      10. Simple Remedies
        1. Never Make a Wild Guess
        2. Collect Relevant Historical Data
        3. Perform Reality Checks and Benchmarking
        4. Conduct an Independent Assessment
    2. CHAPTER 12 Project Valuation Models
      1. Model of the Project
        1. Schedule Model
        2. Economic Model
        3. Alternative Models
      2. The Critical Path Method
      3. The Critical Chain Method
      4. Event Chain Methodology
      5. Modeling with Influence Diagrams
      6. The Agile Approach and Project Decision Analysis
    3. CHAPTER 13 Estimating Probabilities
      1. Approaches to Estimating Probabilities
      2. Subjective Estimation of Probabilities
      3. How We Subjectively Assess Probability and Risk
      4. Methods of Eliciting Subjective Judgments in Project Management
      5. What If a Decision Is Sensitive to Probability?
      6. Qualitative Risk Analysis
  11. PART 4 Quantitative Analysis
    1. CHAPTER 14 Choosing What Is Most Important: Sensitivity Analysis and Correlations
      1. What Are Correlations? Why Do We Need to Analyze Them?
      2. Sources of Correlations in Projects
      3. Psychology of Correlation and Causation
      4. How to Improve Your Judgment
      5. Sensitivity Analysis
      6. Quantitative Analysis of Correlations
      7. Crucial Tasks
      8. Correlations between Tasks
    2. CHAPTER 15 Decision Trees and the Value of New Information
      1. What Is a Decision Tree?
      2. Why Project Managers Avoid Decision Trees (and Why They Shouldn’t)
      3. Converting Project Schedules into Decision Trees
      4. The Value of Perfect Information
      5. The Value of Imperfect Information
    3. CHAPTER 16 What Is Project Risk? Monte Carlo Method
      1. How Much Will It Really Cost?
      2. PERT
      3. Statistical Distributions
      4. The Monte Carlo Technique
      5. Which Distribution Should Be Used?
      6. How Many Trials Are Required?
      7. Analysis of Monte Carlo Results
        1. Sensitivity and Correlations
        2. Critical Indices
        3. Probabilistic Calendars
        4. Deadlines
        5. Conditional Branching
        6. Probabilistic Branching
        7. Chance of Task Existence
      8. Is Monte Carlo the Ultimate Solution?
    4. CHAPTER 17 “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” Or, Event Chain Methodology
      1. How Events Can Affect a Project
      2. Basic Principles of Event Chain Methodology
        1. Principle 1: Moment of Risk and State of an Activity
        2. Principle 2: Event Chains
        3. Principle 3: Event Chain Diagrams
        4. Principle 4: Analysis Using Monte Carlo Simulations
        5. Principle 5: Critical Event Chains
        6. Principle 6: Project Control with Event and Event Chains
      3. Event Chain Methodology Phenomena
        1. Repeated Activities
        2. Event Chains and Risk Response
        3. Delays in Event Chains
        4. Resource Allocation Based on Events
      4. How to Use Event Chain Methodology
      5. Example of Event Chain Methodology
      6. Event Chain Methodology and Mitigation of Psychological Biases
      7. Work Breakdown Structure + Risk Breakdown Structure + Analysis = Event Chain Methodology
    5. CHAPTER 18 The Art of Decision Analysis Reporting
      1. How to Communicate the Results of Decision Analysis
      2. Motivational Biases in Reporting Decision Analysis Results
      3. Put It into Perspective
      4. Presentations Must Have Meaning
      5. Expressing Uncertainty
      6. The Power of Fear
    6. CHAPTER 19 Making a Choice with Multiple Objectives
      1. What Is Multi-Criteria Decision-Making?
      2. The Psychology of Balancing Multiple Objectives
      3. Two Approaches to Multi-Criteria Decision-Making
      4. Ranking Criteria with the Scoring Model
      5. Advanced Methods of Multi-Criteria Decision-Making
  12. PART 5 Implementation, Monitoring, and Reviews
    1. CHAPTER 20 Adaptive Project Management
      1. Adaptive Management as Part of Project Decision Analysis
      2. Principles of Adaptive Management
        1. Principle 1: Use actual project data in combination with original assumptions
        2. Principle 2: Minimize the cost of decision reversals
        3. Principle 3: Make small, sequential decisions
        4. Principle 4: Support creative business environments
        5. Principle 5: Identify and fix problems early
      3. The PMBOK Guide Approach to Project Executing, Monitoring, and Controlling
      4. Adaptive Management and Changing Requirements
    2. CHAPTER 21 Did You Make the Right Choice? Reviewing Project Decisions
      1. Why Do We Need Post-Project Reviews?
      2. How Could We Not Foresee It?
      3. “I Knew It All Along”
      4. Overestimating the Accuracy of Past Judgments
      5. The Peak-End Rule
      6. The Process of Reviewing Decisions
      7. Corporate Knowledge Base
    3. CONCLUSION Does Decision Analysis Provide a Solution?
      1. Common Misconceptions about Decision Analysis
        1. Misconception 1: The decision analysis process is not beneficial because it cannot ensure project success
        2. Misconception 2: Decision analysis adds additional levels of bureaucracy
        3. Misconception 3: Only organizations with mature project management processes can benefit from decision analysis
      2. Why Do We Believe that the Decision Analysis Process Is So Important?
  13. APPENDIX A Risk and Decision Analysis Software
  14. APPENDIX B Heuristics and Biases in Project Management
  15. APPENDIX C Risk Templates
  16. APPENDIX D Multi-Criteria Decision-Making Methodologies
  21. INDEX

Product information

  • Title: Project Decisions, 2nd Edition, 2nd Edition
  • Author(s): Lev Virine, Michael Trumper
  • Release date: November 2019
  • Publisher(s): Berrett-Koehler Publishers
  • ISBN: 9781523085460