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Consequences of Poor Decision Making for a Project

written by: Jean Scheid • edited by: Ginny Edwards • updated: 12/21/2011

Poor or inadequate decisions harm projects all the time. If the decisions you make adversely affect a project, what are the consequences of poor decision making for a project? Jean Scheid takes a look at the top steps for effective decision making.

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    What Is Decision Making in Projects?

    Decision Making Is Important Honestly, without a step-by-step process on how decisions will be tackled within projects, those obstacles that come along will suffer from the consequences of poor decision making for any project. Decision making efforts are employed from Leaders of the Free World to small projects and if you miss the boat, your project may fall flat.

    Within any project, you must first define or outline the problem or project, what alternatives to problems might be, will those alternatives work, and finally make and use the selected decision. Finally, no decision will ever be the best decision if you don’t monitor it.

    Image Credit (Freedigtialphotos)

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    When It All Goes Wrong

    Global Decisions A typical example of poor decision making may be the Bush Administration who insisted that Iraq was in the possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). While, Saddam Hussein may have appeared that his country possessed WMDs and wasn’t denying the fact, the consequences of poor decision making for this project was the US Military’s go-ahead to enter Iraq and find the WMDs—they didn’t exist.

    With this example of poor decision making, the Bush Administration may have defined the problem (WMDs), but it went straight to implementing the decision to enter the country and look for them without taking the necessary steps of decision making that fall in between.

    Another example of poor decision making is my all-time favorite, the introduction of Chrysler’s PT Cruiser. The announcement was made on when to expect these exciting new vehicles on dealer’s showroom floors—but they never came. While Chrysler had designed the vehicle, marketed the vehicle and even spawned a great advertising campaign—because they never delivered the vehicles, as promised, this resulted in a bad decision making process that affected profits and automaker reliability. I seem to smell the same thing happening with the all-new 2011 Ford Fiesta!

    Image Credit: (Freedigitalphotos)

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    When It’s On a Smaller Scale

    Small Decision Making Both of our examples here include governments and big business, but how does poor decision making effect smaller projects?

    I hate to use “widget" examples, so I won’t here. Instead, I’ll use a real life example of poor decision making that actually happened to me.

    I like to call this bad decision the bad Dodge Viper decision. About two years ago, when I was a Dodge dealer, I had a $90,000 Dodge Viper sitting in my showroom—waiting for the right buyer—the one with all the big bucks! I advertised my Dodge Viper on a consistent basis in both print, media, and on the Internet (because these fast cars are rare in small towns). I had a price set that I would accept and my sales staff knew that price. I felt confident a buyer would walk in the door soon.

    Not surprisingly, a buyer from another state flew to my state to see, touch, and feel this amazing machine and before I knew it, he took the bait and wanted to purchase the car—for the MSRP or sticker price of $90,000! Then everything in the delivery part of my project to sell the Dodge Viper failed.

    Image Credit (Freedigitalphotos)

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    A Poor Decision on a Project Delivery

    Dodge Viper Equals Poor Decision My project goal here was to deliver the Dodge Viper to the customer. This included him either financing the vehicle or paying cash, signing the appropriate papers, explaining the tax, title, and delivery fees, gassing up the vehicle, and sending the customer on his happy way. Seems easy right?

    Here is where the consequences of poor decision making for a project come into play. Let’s look at the project in a decision-making-model format:

    • Project – To sell the Dodge Viper
    • Alternatives – Deciding the lowest price I would accept.
    • Evaluate Alternatives – Consider variations of prices I would accept from an interested buyer.
    • Make a Decision – Once the buyer was in my showroom, I made what I thought was an awesome decision to sell the Dodge Viper for $90,000.
    • Monitor the Decision – Here is where my poor decision making came into play and killed the deal. Failure to monitor the delivery process of this project caused me to lose the deal and the Dodge Viper.

    While the customer signed the contracts, paid cash and was happy with his new toy, the “gassing up" of the vehicle went awry. Instead of taking this $90,000 vehicle to the service station myself to load it up with gas (a part of the delivery process in my project), I allowed a porter who at the ripe age of 23 couldn’t wait to get his hands on the wheel of that Viper!

    Approximately 10 minutes later, I received a call from the local police department telling me that the young 23-year old had crashed the $90,000 into a funeral home—nice place for a Dodge Viper to end up! Fortunately the 23-year old (and no one else) was hurt; however, I lost the deal, the cash, the car, and the buyer.

    If I had utilized the “monitor" phase of this decision making process, there would have been no consequences to what I call the bad Dodge Viper decision.

    So, in effect, not utilizing a good decision making model or process will indeed harm any project—and as you can see, the project can be massive or simply a poor business decision. Learn to follow the best practices of decision making in your projects to avoid the dilemmas that will come if you fail to employ these practices in your projects.

    PS: If you know anyone who wants parts for their Dodge Viper, drop me a line.

    Image Credit: Megan Avina - (The Taos News)



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