Nothing can hurt a project manager more than an impasse over a key decision. The momentum for the project slows and then it becomes very difficult to regain activity in the desired direction. The project manager immediately laid the groundwork to avoid this situation.
An issues management process was developed. This process identified different categories of issues and a response for dealing with each category. Throughout the project, the project manager kept a "pulse" on the key issues to ensure follow through and worked hard to ensure open communication. Frequent status review and assessment meetings were held to ensure that issues or problems requiring decisions received sufficient visibility.
During decision making, the project manager always focused on the facts, data, and assumptions while simultaneously focusing on the goals and objectives of the project. This approached helped avoid the typical traps of decision makers , e.g., jumping to a solution before truly understanding the problem or issue, viewing circumstances in black and white or according to prejudices, or taking a short- term perspective.
Throughout the life cycle of a decision, a concerted effort was made to review effectiveness based on feedback. That was achieved with periodic inquiries at meetings about decisions and one-on-one sessions with those stakeholders affected by a decision. Every effort was made to ensure the decision's "visibility" in order to guarantee its implementation and achieve the desired results.
Because decision making is often "tarnished" by values and prejudices, every attempt was made to define an issue or problem clearly, to identify and evaluate different alternatives to deal with it, to consider different viewpoints, and to foresee possible consequences of each alternative and viewpoint.
Finally, the project manager performed an extensive risk assessment for the project. All the key stakeholders were involved in the session, identifying all the risks, the likelihood of occurrence and impacts, and possible courses of action. The important point was that the project manager involved key stakeholders and encouraged ownership to monitor them.