One of the realities of decision-making is that there is an inevitable implementation delay between the time when a decision is made and when the alternative that has been selected begins to create value. In a recent post on this subject, I highlighted the need to be proactive and understand this time lag so that you avoid gaps in your organizational capabilities and solution sets.
We generally want to accelerate the delivery of new capabilities and creation of increased value, so understanding the time lag for a particular decision is a guide to when to start our decision analysis or the R&D that creates new solutions. But when facing decisions with high uncertainty, this time delay can be an advantage. We would like to avoid frequent “bet the farm” decisions in which we have to go “all-in” on a single solution. However, we often lack the information required to make a confident decision; there are high levels of uncertainty associated with our estimates of how effective various alternatives might be. Small steps toward the future are called for rather than a big leap off a cliff in the dark.
Here’s where the time delay between decisions and value creation can help us remain flexible and pivot-ready. We can make conditional decisions and start down the implementation path with our leading alternative(s), while leaving us the flexibility to pivot when (and if) new information is found. More importantly, we can pre-plan the experiments that we will conduct with our favorite alternative(s) to fill-in the missing information. For Systems Engineers, this process is known as Technical Performance Measurement (TPM). Start-ups call it Evidence-based Entrepreneurship. The data we gather through a series of low cost, near-term experiments (user feedback, modeling, simulation, prototyping, etc.) will either confirm our hypotheses about our favorite alternative(s) or point us toward other solutions.
We are working towards deploying a TPM tool within the Decision Driven® Solutions Framework (DDSF) and would love some beta-testing feedback. If you are facing an important decision in which your best alternatives have really fuzzy performance estimates, please contact the Decision Driven® Solutions team at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be happy to help you frame this decision, capture your current decision analysis data (evaluation matrix) and plan the data-gathering steps that will help you pull the trigger on your leading alternative or pivot as needed.