Decision Analysis

Effective Technical Decision Making

The ability to make defensible, traceable decisions quickly and efficiently is a core management skill, yet few systems engineers or managers ever receive focused training in “how to” improve their decision- making skills. Drawing from the disciplines of psychology, probability, and decision theory, this course introduces an easy-to-use methodology for thinking about and making effective decisions.

Course Overview

This course introduces an easy-to-apply, systematic process for making decisions. It formalizes decision-making steps and presents tools and techniques to make the best decision given the time and information available. Using examples from general management, systems engineering and project management disciplines, this course equips your managers with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to make consistently better decisions.

Course Format

During two full days, the course introduces a coherent method for structuring and analyzing decisions ranging from engineering trade studies to allocating resources to selecting strategic initiatives. Concepts are introduced using a blend of lecture and class discussion, and attendees practice decision-making techniques using relevant case studies and examples.

Who Should Attend

This course is designed for all managers. Executives, systems engineers, project managers, and business managers will find the course particularly relevant and immediately applicable in their organizations.

Learning Objectives

Attendees will be able to:

  • Recognize factors contributing to successful and unsuccessful decision-making
  • Explain the advantages and disadvantages of analytic and intuitive decision-making
  • Explain the importance of probability in decisions
  • Apply a simple model for decision-making
  • Frame a decision problem correctly
  • Utilize creative thinking techniques to generate alternatives
  • Apply three different simple structuring techniques for deciding a course of action
  • Structure and conduct a technical trade study

Course Outline

  • Introduction and overview
  • Conducting Technical Trade Studies
  • The Importance of Values and Objectives
  • Probability Theory Basics
  • Cognitive Biases that Affect Decision-Making
  • Asking the Right Questions – Framing
  • Structuring and Analyzing Decisions
  • Decision Trees and Influence Diagrams
  • Multi-Attribute Utility Theory (MAUT)
  • Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP)
  • Conducting Engineering Trade Studies
  • Selecting an Approach
  • Justifying the Decision
  • Course Closure