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6 Steps for Flawless Go/No-Go Decision Making

You’re in the manager’s chair and you need to make a decision. All the typical signals are pointing in the right direction; the prototype looks awesome, the request for proposal (RFP) is impressive and well-suited for your enterprise. Your gut says, “GO!” but your brain says, “Now just wait a minute. Think this over. Look at the big picture.” And according to Lisa Jo Rudy, looking at the big picture is exactly what a manager is paid to do. Here’s how to do it.

Do I Need Go/No-Go Analysis?

First, you’ll have to know whether the decision involves a more complex, go/no-go analysis. Simple decisions (Should I begin a huge project when a senior manager is in the midst of leaving?) are easy no-go decisions. On the other hand, perhaps you’re lacking full information, are concerned about wider departmental impacts, are confronted with multiple avenues of execution, or must carefully weigh risks against some equally stacked opportunities.

6 Steps of the Go/No Go Decision

  1. Compile Information
  2. Assemble Stakeholders
  3. Pinpoint Critical Factors
  4. Brainstorm
  5. Analyze
  6. Decide

The first missing ingredient to the go/no-go decision is information in the form of parameters, costs, time frames, resource requirements, and expected outcomes. Next, you’ll want to gather ‘round the stakeholders, including originators of the project idea as well as financial experts and business risk analysts. Third, consider factors beyond standard financial concerns. These intangibles may turn an unattractive option into an unexpected win for the company. You can get serious about brainstorming by pulling out the decision matrix or decision tree to analyze risks as a group. At this point, analysis should be fully enabled, and a final decision comes to your desk. But don’t sweat it; if you’re truly not keen on a particular project, you can always cushion the blow for stakeholders by infusing the no-go response with qualifiers such as “not yet” and “not this time.”

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About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI’s Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master’s degree in communications at Penn State University.

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