You're going to have to make many decisions in the course of any project. As with most things in teamwork there's no absolute "right"' way to make a decision, but the following guidelines are likely to make life easier



Distinguish Major from Minor Decisions

Some decisions are big ones, others don't make an enormous difference.

  • Consciously decide which are major and which are minor.
  • If there's a question understand why different members disagree.
Give Yourself Time

Particularly for major decisions, you want as much time as possible to make them.

  • Identify in advance when decisions must be made.
  • Discuss the decision before you have to make it and then give time to "mull" on it. Often that time can produce changed minds and better decisions.
Use Criteria

It's very tempting to make a decision just by 'talking about it'. It helps greatly to define "criteria" by which you'll evaluate different alternatives.

  • The more important the decision the more important it is to establish criteria.
  • It's usually helpful to have between five and ten criteria.
  • Using a "criteria matrix" can be helpful
    • A criteria matrix is essentially a table in which different alternatives are listed at the heads of columns and the criteria are listed at the left of rows. You fill in a rating in each cell of the matrix. The simplest way is to use numbers and add up the score for each alternative.
    • Excel is a great tool for creating criteria matrices.
Hear Everyone's Opinion
Be sure that each team member has their say about important decisions. It's too easy to neglect quiet members - they may have very good ideas.


Mistakes Teams Have Made

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Updated: 4/4/03