Eight to Late

Sensemaking and Analytics for Organizations

Improving decision-making in projects

with 5 comments

An irony of organisational life is that the most important decisions on projects (or any other initiatives) have to be made at the start, when ambiguity is at its highest and information availability lowest. I recently gave a talk at the Pune office of BMC Software on improving decision-making in such situations.

The talk was recorded and simulcast to a couple of locations in India. The folks at BMC very kindly sent me a copy of the recording with permission to publish it on Eight to Late. Here it is:

Based on the questions asked and the feedback received, I reckon that a number of people found the talk  useful. I’d welcome your comments/feedback.

Acknowledgements: My thanks go out to Gaurav Pal, Manish Gadgil and Mrinalini Wankhede for giving me the opportunity to speak at BMC, and to Shubhangi Apte for putting me in touch with them. Finally, I’d like to thank the wonderful audience at BMC for their insightful questions and comments.

5 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. In this decision making process what’s the role of Systems Engineering in the progressive development of what Done looks like? The wicked problem paradigm is based on “we don’t even know the problem,let alone the solution.” This is the Post-Normal problem. This is the emergent problem situation.
    Systems Engineering has something to say about emergent problems and the solutions approach. Are you thinking that SE fails in the presence of these conditions?



    January 19, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    • Kailash

      Your exposition of IBIS is really clear. I read it in ‘Heretics’ but for me, the presented narrative and questions laid-down the technique in my mind more thoroughly. Thank you. The lead-time for management methods to take root is too long.
      This reminds me of Quality Function Deployment (QFD), another useful process technique for problem-solving by groups. There is an important issue here; such methods while important to trainers and consultants, have in this complex world have to become more accessible to professionals. They are not commonly found in mainstream education or established in management development programmes. These ways of working are important to complex transformation and need to emerge from ‘the nich’. OD needs to come of age!

      Martin Price


      Martin Price

      January 24, 2016 at 12:50 am

      • Hi Martin,

        Thanks for your comment and my apologies for the delay in replying. I agree the lead time for management methods to take root is way too long. A better way is for front line manager to introduce new techniques informally. In this case the cost of failure is low. Moreover, if the techniques work, it becomes that much easier to gain buy in.





        February 5, 2016 at 10:53 am

    • Hi Glen,

      Thanks for viewing and for your question. My apologies for the delay in responding to you.

      From a broad perspective, the technique described in my talk falls under what is often called the soft systems approach. Such techniques are designed to address stakeholder diversity, particularly in the problem formulation stage. So I would say it complements (rather than competes with) systems engineering. I’d be interested to hear your perspective.



      Hi Martin,



      February 5, 2016 at 9:37 am

  2. […] Kailash Awati shares his presentation on improving decision-making in situations with high ambiguity, using IBIS notation for issue mapping. About 48 minutes, safe for work. […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: