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Here’s how to get started with decision management


When I talk to folks about decision management they sometimes seem intimidated by the complexity of the problem and the sophistication of organizations that have invested heavily in the approach. Here, then, are some thoughts to help you get started.

  • Begin – even if the first version is not perfect or even close.
    Automate the decision even if you cannot handle many of the transactions without manual review. You will get better over time but only if you start.
  • Build – for change not to last.
    You will need to change the way you make a decision so make it easy to do that. This remains true no matter how much design work you do – decisions, and what makes a decision a good one, are not completely under your control.
  • Test – to see what works better.
    Use adaptive control and champion/challenger testing (sometimes called A/B Testing) to constantly try alternatives and see if they work better than your current approach.
  • Measure – to see how it’s going.
    You must be able to measure the quality of a decision. If you can’t measure it, don’t automate it. Think about the KPIs and measures that will be affected by the decision and track them.
  • Iterate – keep updating and improving the decision.
    Fail fast, learn fast, respond faster than your competitors.

Inspired by PierG’s post on Decision Making.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Gary C June 13, 2008, 4:34 am

    Another excellent post, James.
    It occurred to me, too that the steps you mention could also apply to processes in general…..
    I’ve added a quick entry to indicate how this might work at the Process Cafe.

  • PierG June 13, 2008, 8:01 am

    Great post James, and thank you for the ping back.

  • Frank July 24, 2008, 5:46 pm

    EDM and KDD are great, but how do you overcome the moral fear some organizations have when they realize 40-80 oercent performance improvements come at 40-60 percent less personel; so if operational budgets and manager salaries are dependent on the number of subordinate employees, then it is in the best interest for some to resist EDM; especially in state public health organization.   More on this later, there is side story….

  • Frank July 24, 2008, 6:05 pm

    Ok, I’m back.
    So, many state public health systems represent the antithesis of EDM.   This happens because most PH activities are driven by funding and politics.   A great example is Bio-Terror; there is only one difference between a bio-terror event and any other outbreak or chemical spill — bio-terror is intentional and except for criminal issues, responses are the same: quarantine, clean up, etc.; but states get lots of additional money for bio-terror and create whole sub-organizations with their own information systems.   So, in many state public health departments there are information systems for diabetes, cancer (for each kind), any number of infant health programs, all existing to collect their OWN specific data and report those data by their OWN standards (if such standards exist at all).   Because of thsi programmatic focus it may be impossible to introduce EDM in these organizations since information sharing is loss of power, and any systemic means to create an enterprise information system is seen not only as a threat of exposure to accountability, but also loss of power since larger sets of staff who create reports and manage indivdual data sets would no longer be necessary.