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Decision Quality

What is Decision Quality? How do you ensure Decision Quality in your organization? Decision Quality begins with clarity of action. This clarity is achieved when there is a clear understanding of the decision problem, the possible solutions, and the impact of those solutions including the tradeoff of different decision criteria.

Decision Quality and the Three-Legged Stool

Decision Quality requires the stable base of Decision Analysis. Using a three-legged approach to structured analysis, clarity of action is achieved through:

  • Framing
  • Uncertainty Analysis
  • Decision Maker Dialogue

Decision Frame

A decision frame is the group's circumscribed view of a decision problem. It incorporates only that which is necessary to take a decision with clarity of action. Evaluation teams create the decision frame; however, it will be finalized by a decision board or key decision makers. Typically decision frames evolve over time.

Uncertainty Analysis

Uncertainty is a state of knowledge and as such it makes sense that it adds complexity to decision making. It is uncertainty that makes it difficult to choose a course of action. If we knew what was going to happen when we take a particular decision, we could choose today. When we cannot, we must describe our uncertainty and determine the best course of action, given the uncertainty. The description of uncertainty requires two elements: what's possible and what's probable, and a possible third, risk.

Decision Maker Dialogue

To create the right frame, you need the right people. The right people include Experts, Project Teams and Decision Makers. A timely dialogue between all three ensures the integrity of the Decision Quality process.

Three Legged Stool at Work

Using the three-legged stool approach at work, a team can then review:


Issues outside of your control (or your company's control) - the outcomes of which are known (or can be known soon)


Issues that describe your (or your company's) values, decision criteria, or value drivers to be used to make the decision


Issues outside of your control (or your company's control) - the outcome of which is unknown


Issues within your control (or your company's control)

What is an Initial Decision Analysis Workflow

How does it all work? The following sample workflow of the initial process provides an overview of how this will work within your organization.

  1. Create a Problem Statement
  2. Raise the Issues
  3. Sort the issues Facts, Values/Objective, Uncertainties and Decisions
  4. Categorize decisions in a decision hierarchy
  5. Generate alternatives using the focus decisions in a strategy table
  6. Create a few different integrated strategies to answer key questions
  7. Construct an influence diagram for each strategy
  8. Build a decision and risk timeline for each strategy

Next Steps

After this initial workflow there is so much more to do to ensure decision quality including drilling down through the process and reaching clarity of action.

Attend a Decision Frameworks workshop to work through the process or invite Decision Frameworks to conduct an assessment of the decision analysis implementation in your organization. Embarking on Decision Analysis as a solution to ensure decision quality in your organization will deliver a rock solid foundation upon which you and your organization can grow.

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