Group Decision-Making Techniques

What are group decision-making techniques

When it comes to Project Management, usually there are multiple stakeholders expecting different outputs from the project life-cycle. Therefore, it’s necessary to implement¬† proper group-decision making techniques and methods. Especially this is important when different opinions clash and make conflicts with each other. In addition, these techniques / method may align with group creativity techniques when it’s required. (prior to the execution of group decision-making techniques)

According to PMBOK (5th Edition), there are 4 different group decision-making techniques that can be applied throughout the entire project life-cycle. They are as follows;

Unanimity

This decision making is defined when everyone participating in the decision-making process agrees on a single course of action. There are few methods that can be followed to achieve this. (E.g.: Delphi technique where group of experts respond to the questionnaire anonymously) Apart from that, this method is known to provide the least hassles on project management team in terms of implementing decision making techniques.

Majority

Majority relies on most number of votes towards a particular decision. (more than 50%) In order to make this technique more efficient, it’s recommended to have an uneven number of people in the decision making panel to avoid resulting in a tied decision.

Plurality

This is a bit of complicated decision making technique and more challenging to understand. According to PMBOK (5th Edition), it is a decision reached by the largest block in a decision making panel though it’s not achieved the majority concept. This method is used when the nominated options are greater than 2, hence the option voted by the largest block of the decision making panel is agreed and confirmed.

Dictatorship

This is known to be the least agreed method to be used among a decision making panel. When the project leader acts as a dictator, he / she is not willing to listen to others and coming up with their own decisions which will have a higher probability to drive the project towards failure. A dictator doesn’t allow to develop group creativity techniques. In addition, due to the dictatorship, the project lead should be accountable for any future conflicts arising within the project community and tasks.

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Group Creativity Techniques

What are Group Creativity Techniques

There are several techniques been defined to follow when it comes to requirement gathering phase. (Source: PMBOK 5th Edition) Group Creativity Techniques are few of them. Under this concept, there are few methods mentioned for effective requirement gathering sessions. Few of them are as follows;

Brainstorming

This is same as interviewing, but recommended to use when there are multiple stakeholders sharing multiple ideas with regards to project / product requirements. This is sometimes referred to as a conference techniques due to the participation of multiple stakeholders.

Nominal Group Technique

This method works with brainstorming as a joint process. Once the ideas are generated through a brainstorming session, the brought up ideas / requirements will be analyzed and prioritized based on their value using the nominal group technique.

Delphi Technique

This is known to be a method of reaching the consensus of subject matter experts (SME). The facilitator has to prepare a list of questions that need to be answered by SMEs and shared among them. Once the SMEs receive the questionnaire, they will answer based on their knowledge and experience and share their opinions with the facilitator. Through this technique, it reduces the bias in the information shared since this technique is mostly following the anonymous techniques where only the facilitator will receive the SME opinions.

Idea / Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is a technique which consolidates several opinions collected via brainstorming sessions from individuals and form a central opinion. This mapping view visualizes the different ideas and opinions carried by different stakeholders which follows different deviations from the centralized opinion.

Mind Map
Mind Map

 

Affinity Diagram

This is another technique that goes toe-to-toe with brainstorming and nominal group techniques. It takes ideas from different individuals and group them under different categories for reviewing and analysis purposes.

Multi-criteria Decision Analysis

Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis technique assigns different criteria for requirement evaluation purpose and rank them with a weighted value. Once the requirements are gathered, they will be rated based on the weighted values assigned to each criteria. This technique is mostly used to evaluate risk levels, uncertainties, valuation and other ideas that can be ranked with regards to the weighted criterion value.

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