Posted by: kerrywills | July 23, 2010

Best Professional Opinion


One of the most common problems I see on projects is that people do not want to make decisions. The irony is that the people who do not want to make decisions are usually the ones most equipped to do so. Usually what happens is I wind up facilitating from them what the answer should be by asking a few questions….

  • What are the options
  • What happens if we don’t do xyz
  • What is the impact of the problem

Then we get to a recommendation and the team thinks that I did something, when they had the answers all along. A lot of times people are afraid of making bad decisions and being punished. Therefore they look to us, as Project Managers, to make the decisions.

Most Project Managers are not content experts but play an important role in facilitating that decisions get made. The result of indecision is usually time lost, delays, confusion and missed commitments.  People need to realize that they are professionals at their jobs and can use their “best professional opinion” given the information that is known at that time.

"Oh I can't decide so I will stay here and stare at the sign until someone tells me which way to go"

We should encourage team members to feel empowered to make informed decisions and that they will be supported. We also need to brush up on our facilitation and negotiation skills to make sure that we can influence decisions being made in a timely manner.

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