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The Art of Project Management by Scott Berkun

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8.1. Sizing up a decision (what's at stake)

Everything you do every day is a kind of decision—what time to wake up, what to eat for breakfast, and who to talk to first at work. We don't often think of these as decisions because the consequences are so small, but we are always making choices. We all have our own natural judgments for which decisions in our lives demand more consideration, and the same kind of logic applies to project management decisions. Some choices, like hiring/firing employees or defining goals, will have ramifications that last for months or years. Because these decisions will have a longer and deeper impact, it makes sense to spend more time considering the choices and thinking through their different tradeoffs. Logically, smaller or less-important decisions deserve less energy.

So, the first part of decision making is to determine the significance of the decision at hand. Much of the time, we do this instinctively; we respond to the issue and use our personal judgment. Am I confident that I can make a good decision on the spot, or do I need more time for this? It often takes only a few moments to sort this out. However, this is precisely where many of us run into trouble. Those instincts might be guided by the right or wrong factors. Without taking the time, at least now and then, to break it down and evaluate the pieces that lead to that judgment, we don't really know what biases and assumptions might be driving our thinking (e.g., desiring a promotion ...

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