What is a difficult decision that you needed to make recently?
There are any number of reasons why a decision might be difficult…
- The problem lacks structure, and it’s not clear what the distinct options are or what the possible outcomes may be
- There is no quantifiable data that can be used to create a rigorous analysis
- There is too much data – which leads to contradictions or confusion
- After going through a logical process of reasoning, the conclusion seems counterintuitive. Should you believe the results?
- Not able to reach consensus among multiple decision-makers
In the last fifty years, the field of decision analysis has emerged as a viable technique for structuring problems so that they can be analyzed through a well-defined process (c.f., Big Sky Associates).
The science of decision analysis makes it a mathematical problem of solving an equation to find the right answer; however, there still remains an art: clarifying ambiguous problems and creating consensus among stakeholders.