Decision-making is a key activity within every organization. Research has shown that organizations that focus on the quality of their decisions tend to gain a competitive advantage and outperform organizations that do not. All decisions, whether it is in business, engineering, government, or personal life are based on decision-making methods. In fact, using different decision-making methods with the same information may lead to different outcomes. The selection of a decision-making method is therefore very important, and should not be left to chance.
The figure below illustrates the importance of methods in decision-making. Methods produce decisions, which in turn guide actions, which finally lead to the outcomes. If the outcomes matter then you decision-making methods should also matter.
Figure 1. Cause-effect model of decision-making (Suhr 1999)
This topic has been of particular interest in Lean Construction community. Research has been conducted to compare the different decision-making methods and study which is best aligned with Lean thinking. Choosing By Advantages (CBA) has been selected as the best aligned method. Developed by Jim Suhr, CBA is based on the idea that decisions should be based on comparative advantages among the alternatives. CBA has been adopted as part of the Lean Construction framework, and the preferred decision-making method in IPD projects and projects involving Target Value Design and Set-based Design.
Founded in 2014 by a group of UC Berkeley Alumni, Paramount Decisions provides a simple and intuitive software solution for decision-making in the AEC industry. The software support Lean Decision-making, using the Choosing By Advantages (CBA) tabular method. Paramount Decisions provides a step-by-step process to help organizations collaboratively tackle complex decisions, allows them to develop sound decisions, documents their decisions, and enables transparency in the decision-making process.
“High risk decisions with multiple stakeholders can take weeks or months to make. Paramount Decisions' structured approach allows organizations to significantly reduce the time required to reach consensus while simultaneously improving the quality of group decisions” said Nawras Skhmot, co-founder and CEO of Paramount Decisions. He added,”Paramount Decisions allows organizations to develop transparent, auditable, and data-driven decisions. Following a simple 8-step process, the software provides a structured Lean approach that guides you through the decision-making process and help you arrive at sound decisions.”
Figure 2. The 8-steps process for decision-making in Paramount Decisions
Paramount Decisions supports group decision-making and allow you to invite relevant stakeholders to work with you on any decision. It also allow you to assign tasks to your colleagues and keep track of the decision status. ”Many organizations make decisions without collaborating with relevant stakeholders, which leads to suboptimal solutions, or change decisions later paying a higher cost. Organizations can benefit from a transparent and collaborative decision-making process”, said Donah Do, Co-founder and CTO of Paramount Decisions.
The software allows you to also create templates for common decisions in order to expedite the decision-making process. You can reuse those templates in future decisions, edit the templates, or share them with your colleagues to standardize particular decisions. You can also learn from past decisions, reuse past decisions and improve upon them.
An important perk of the software is the ability to create final reports with only one click. After completing a decision, the software automatically generates reports that you can print or share in order to communicate the rationale of your decisions with all relevant stakeholders. You can choose between a full report or condensed report in A3 format. “Our goal is to help companies develop sound and data-driven decisions, to clearly document their decisions and to enable transparency in the decision-making process. Being able to easily share and communicate the rationale of complex decisions with all stakeholders is therefore an important value we strive to provide”, said Nawras.
Figure 3. An A3 report generated by Paramount Decisions
When asked about the types of decisions in the AEC industry that can benefit from the clarity and transparency of Paramount Decisions, Doanh went on to explain, “ There are a lot of different decisions that the software can help you through, such as choosing which contractor or designer to hire, choosing between different schematic design alternatives, choosing a structure framing system, choosing which materials to use, choosing whether to buy or rent and much more.”
The software has already been used by some large general contractor and architecture firms, including DPR, Boldt, General Motors, and Boulder Associates. “As the only Lean decision-making software in the market, Paramount Decisions reduces negative iterations and waste from making unsound decisions and supports your organization's Lean journey”, said Nawras to conclude.
Click here to learn more about Paramount Decisions and create a free trial.