March 14, 2013

Decision–making strategies in Six Sigma Projects

I finally got my book from amazon “The Project Leader’s Handbook”, PMI. I bought it to write my project and I didn’t expect that it would be so helpful in analyzing decision-making process. There was a chapter about decision-making strategies that leaders use in teams, - if I only knew this before doing our Wave Riders case! The type of strategy varies according to the extent to which team reach a consensus. To my opinion, this is actually very important point, because biases usually appear when the decision was made and the consensus was not reached. To that point, there are following strategies:

  • Autocratic. One person makes decision. Very quick and the responsibility is clear, but no feedback and limited number of alternatives.
  • Expert. The most knowing person makes decision. Again responsibility is clear and no additional research needed. The negative thing here is that there is no feedback.
  • Autocratic with input from the team. One person makes decision after asking for opinion of others. The benefits are obvious here. The negative side is that the frustration can happen due to the lack of follow-up.
  • Majority Rule. Democratic approach and very quick. But! Responsibility here is unclear and some members might still lose.
  • Consensus. Not all satisfied with decision but are willing to support it. All members are involved and give the feedback. Not so quick as other strategies.
  • Unanimous Consent. Everyone fully agrees on the decision. This is of course the best scenario, however, it might never happen.

Describing these strategies with their advantages and disadvantages I can now say that we were using three of them in certain period of time. The Expert strategy (as we hade a person who was really strong in finance analysis); the majority rule (when we were short in time and, thus, were forced to come quickly to the conclusion); the consensus (this was our main strategy and we followed it in most cases).

I have to admit, that there is a perfect CONSENSUS strategy when all members consent to a decision, but in reality, there are different conditions and circumstances, which actually define which strategy to apply. Therefore, I guess, in our team we were following not the best strategy but every time most appropriate one.

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