All 9 entries tagged Rdm

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March 11, 2013

Grid Analysis

To help us in the marketing medium choice, we used Grid Analysis and Pairwise comparison. Since I have already written about Pairwise comparison, I will focus on Grid Analysis in this post.

Grid Analysis is used when you have a number of options to choose from, and you want to figure out the possible implications of each choice. The table was relatively simple and straight-forward to construct. We wrote down all the options such as Internet, TV, Newspapers, etc on the left hand side and all the factors such as cost effectiveness, etc along the top row. The selection of factors to compare can be slightly tricky as you have to judge their impact on your decision. We were able to confirm our factors after a bit of research and once we had done that, we assigned weights to each factor. This is obviously a subjective decision and involves judgement bias. However, we tried to minimize it by talking through it as a group. It could be tricky to get everyone to agree on the weights but if the reasoning is sound, then a consensus can be reached. All the options were then scored for each factor. This again involves a bit of informed guessing. It is important that the reasoning behind the decision is logical, understandable and easy to follow. Next, the individual scores were multiplied by the weights of corresponding factors. Finally, after a simple calculation, we found out the overall scores for each option and we decided to go with our 4 highest scorers, namely Flyers, Astroturfing, Tissue Pack marketing and Celebrity endorsement.

All in all, Grid analysis is an effective tool to use when making this sort of decision. I hope my experience of using it for this presentation helps me if I am required to use it for any decision in the future.

Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP)

We came across AHP in the leadership and excellence module, and we have covered it in RDM as well. Personally, I think that it is a great tool for getting the team to arrive at a consensus. It allows the team to build a hierarchy of decision factors. The factors are compared and ranked. The different options are then analyzed in order to make a decision. This approach is helpful as it gives a clear trail which can be followed to see how the decision has come about.

There are many other benefits of using AHP. For instance, it has an intuitive appeal and it is also flexible (Ramanathan, 2001). Furthermore, it can assist user to make complex decisions even when Quantitative data is not available and Qualitative approach is needed. This, however, could lead to judgement bias so one should, as ever, be careful when using the tool.

Reference: Ramanathan, R. (2001). A note on the use of the analytic hierarchy process for environmental impact assessment. Journal of Environmental Management, 63, pp. 27–35

March 10, 2013

Decision Tree

To help us decide which production site to get, we used Decision Tree Analysis. Decision tree can be a very helpful tool as it projects the outcomes for all possible options. It gives the user an overview of the various stages that could follow a particular decision. The branches of the decision tree should be used to signify the probability of an outcome, and simple calculations can be made to work out the expected benefits or payoffs associated with various options. Finally, the option with the highest expected payoff should be chosen.

After using decision tree, I now appreciate it more as it gives a complete and comprehensive picture. All the different pathways are considered. This is important as we often make the costly mistake of missing small details when making a decision. Moreover, it is really helpful when you have a complicated decision with many stages (for example when you have to make follow on decisions if the project is not as successful as you expected it to be). By using probability, it allows the user to consider the risk factors and uncertainty and still make a good decision.

However, I have also learnt that you should be extra careful and meticulous when drawing the tree. The graphical representation should be neat and thouroughly checked in order to confirm that all the details are considered. Hence, it is not such a straightforward task. It does require time and effort. Nonetheless, if it's done appropriately, it can greatly aid the user to make a robust decision.

March 09, 2013

Paired Comparison Analysis

Paired comparison analysis is great when you have several options to choose from and you want to rank them in a logical order. However, as it relies on judgement, care must be taken to minimize bias. In particular, I have learnt that you should always check to see that you're following the law of transitivity when giving the ratings to different options. This would help you in making a logical and rational decision. This law indicates that if A is better than B; and B is better than C, then it follows that A is better than C.

I have also learnt that paired comparison works best when you have a reasonable number of choices, i.e. not too few and not too many either.

If you only have a couple of options, then it defies the purpose of drawing up a table and ranking them. Also, if you have too many, then it can be a bit confusing and tricky to arrive at a logical decision. Let me give you an example. If someone would have asked you about your favourite subjects back in school, you would have easily been able to rank your subjects in a set order. This is because you didn't have an unreasonably long list to choose from. The choices were simpler: English, Maths, Science, Art, Computer Science, etc. On the other hand, if I ask you to open a page where all the different courses that Warwick uni offers and rank them all according to your preference, you would find it much more difficult. It would not only take you longer but also you might have more than 1 options ranked equally as good. This can be confusing if you have to derive a conclusion from the analysis.

Making robust decisions

After studying the RDM module, I can't help but look back at some of the major decisions I've made in my life and assess whether they were robust enough. For example, the decision to come study MBE at warwick..was it a robust decision i.e. is MBE going to be beneficial for us no matter which future path we take in our lives?

I believe YES! The fact that we are studying modules such as Leadership and RDM means that we are learning REAL SKILLS and not just some random theories. This point is sometimes worth emphasizing. Businesses occassionally report how they are struggling to make effective decisions, for instance there was a story about how 25% of executives surveyed reported that the management frequently makes the wrong decisions.

(To read more about how bad decision making is in businesses, please visit:

In short, making the wrong decisions can be disastrous for organizations. In that respect, we have an edge over others since now we all have a reasonable idea on selecting and applying appropriate decision-making tools. This knowledge can greatly assist us in making effective and robust decisions.

March 08, 2013

The importance of choosing the appropriate decision–making tool

When making a decision, one has to select the right tool because an inappropriate tool will invariably lead to a bad decision (unless luck plays its part). This suggests that choosing the right tool is equally as important as choosing the right option. However, there are so many tools that it can seem a daunting task to just select the one or two that you need.

The specific tool you choose will obviously have to change according to the situation you're in. Even a slight change in time, resources, availability of data and complexity of the problem can mean that another tool is more appropriate now. Hence, one should always be aware of the various methods. Certainly, having a general idea about which method to use is better than gambling on a decision. As with most things, once you start using the tools on a regular basis, you will take less time in choosing the appropriate tools for subsequent decision making projects.

February 27, 2013

Teamwork, Leadership and Robust Decision Making: One happy MBE family

If there's one skill that MBE enhances more than any other, it is teamwork. We are asked to work in teams and develop various presentations in every module. In particular, the leadership module and the RDM module have really highlighted some of the important aspects of teamwork.

For example, we have learnt about the imporance of being decisive..if you wait to seek consensus, then the decision will pass you by. Decisions have to be made in a timely fashion.

This is important in a professional work environment too. Within cross-functional teams it is easy to find the different disciplines pulling in slightly different directions. Therefore it is essential to a have a decision maker who will listen and is capable of understanding different views, but who is also prepared, for the sake of progressing the particular project, to make a decision, even if there is not total agreement.

I really think that it is a very useful idea to get everyone on should always clarify these sort of issues with the team beforehand. Commitment from the whole team should be seeked, especially in the scenerio where their recommendation has not been selected.

While individuals may take ownership of work, it must always remain a team effort.

February 26, 2013

The cost of delayed decisions and some decision tools

Delayed decisions can be very costly for an organization. Intuitively, it is clear that they result in a shorter time-frame for executing the decision. This can significantly increase the likelihood of having a defect or an error. Poor and delayed decisions also have other associated costs in terms of wasted time, missed opportunities and the need for re-work. It can also increase the level of anxiety experienced by employees and suppliers.

Today, we learnt various different tools that can aid the decision-making process. I think that the use of appropriate tools can greatly improve a group's effectiveness in making decisions. Some of these useful tools are:

Decision Trees: They are a type of flowchart that provide a graphical representation of options, choices and the results of each option. They can be simple or fairly complex and they can incorporate probability of different events too as we saw in class today. I have never used a decision tree before today but I will definitely utilize it to help me with my decisions in the future. They are a good way to quickly sort out which options are viable and those that lead to dead ends.

Cost-Benefit Analysis: Essentially, this refers to listing down all the options, along with their respective benefits and advantages. The associated costs and disadvantages are also added to give more information to the decision-maker. This approach is also an excellent way of narrowing options down to those that are most viable.

Priority Grids: A table is created, and in the first column, the decision making criteria is listed. Each criteria is then prioritized, by filling a second column with: Very important, Important, Neutral, Unimportant and Very Unimportant (naturally, this will have a subjectivity element). Across the top, the options under consideration are listed. These options can then be rated by the group by placing a check mark beside all criteria that a specific option meets. The total number of ticks beside the Very Important and Important criteria can then be added up in the bottom row. Finally, the options with the highest totals are short-listed for selection.

There are many other tools that can be equally, if not more, effective. A good knowledge and understanding of such various methods can greatly assist organizations and individuals. Using the same analogy as "being critical about being critical", we should ideally make a well-informed decision about which decision-making tool to use given the specific situation.

February 25, 2013

Robust Decision Making: How people make bad decisions

Today was our first day on the RDM module. We were shown numerous examples which highlighted how bad humans are with their judgement and decision-making. I had come across some of these “spot the face, identify the mistake” images before, but I have not thought of them much to be honest. So in many ways, today was a reality check. In order to make robust decisions, we need to understand some of the reasons why people make bad decisions. It is particularly important for our careers as we are all striving to be in a position of responsibility. This means that naturally we would have to make decisions that will have an impact on the organization. We have to be careful and not waste the resources of the organization.

In my opinion, some of the many sure-fire ways to make a bad decision are:

1. Making decisions too soon
As we saw in class, our instincts (first reactions) are generally not reliable. Making decisions quickly can be a good thing in the case of simple examples, such as quickly leaving a building when the fire alarm goes off. However, if it is a complex problem and has many available options, a knee-jerk decision is more likely to be the wrong choice.

2. Being influenced by emotions or personal preference
We make decisions based on things or factors that are important to us. For example, if you want to buy a new motorbike, and the most important factor for you is that it has to be red, then you will ignore other useful specifications and choose the red motorbike. This type of thinking is highly subjective. Everyone will have different preferences. If this analogy is used in businesses, then a rational and an objective decision will be hard to make. Teams should try to reach a decision without with being influenced by an individual’s emotions or preference.

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