This weekend I received a copy of Michael Nir’s ninth book D-side, practical decision making business guide. A small book which I read during my flight from Amsterdam to Athens. It’s an easy to read book about an interesting and difficult topic. It’s all about decision making. Michael uses from time to time simple icons to show you a reminder, to make a reflection or give a thumbs-up with an easy to understand example.
The book is divided into five chapters.
The first chapter explains why complexity is under-rated. Michael uses the well-known traveler salesperson problem to show the difference between none deterministically polynomial (which are complex, confusing and constitute the majority of business and personal decision problems we face) versus the second degree polygons (which are easy to solve). He introduces the use of local decision rules and complications when using.
The second chapter explains two approaches to tackle these complex problems. The first is a top down computerized algorithm and the second is the bottom up local approach. Computerized algorithms can be used for, e.g. allocation of resources and machines in a production environment or within a portfolio office to balance the project portfolio. Solutions will be ok-solutions (5% far from an optimal solution). The second approach introduces the Japanese way thinking, e.g., the usage of lean to enhance production quality which enables better material planning and scheduling.
The third chapter explores the consequence once your top down plan fails using the example of building pyramids. What will be the impact of (not) having position power, having debates on priorities and the one who yells loudest will get the priority. You need to have rules to guide decisions. also you have to take into account your own cognitive biases when making decisions (anchoring, choosing from the peak and not the average, focusing on the last observed result).
The fourth chapter combines the two approaches and gives, in detail, some practical guidelines to pursuit. E.g. simple local rules and strategic top down rules and visual problem presentation.
The last chapter is about focus. What are the absolute must haves, the real needs? What are the elements of the complex decision, what is the timeline we have for deciding? And once you made your choice, stick to it, let the rest go.
As stated, a small, easy to read booklet that will help you to reflect on your own decision experiences and gives you some guidelines to support your future decision making.