Collecting Information and Data on the objectives and alternatives
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Week 6: Applying the MDQ Model Step 3 Building the Decision
Introduction: Collecting Information and Data on the objectives and alternatives
Skill #7: Collecting and evaluating information objectively (looking for bias) that will satisfy the objectives set forth in step two and suggest create alternatives that meet the goals of the stakeholders to the decision.
Objectives are the drivers for crafting a viable decision. Here is an example of how we applied the steps to date: The family car engine died and the cost to replace the engine is three times the value of the car.
- In step one sorting through the facts of the situation led to a specific decision to be made: DO WE BUY A NEW or USED CAR ?
- In step two the decision was framed in terms of three elements: Purpose –– the objectives to be met are— a reliable replacement vehicle; the price must fit the budget; it must be as family friendly meaning it must comfortably hold all the persons in the family; and maintenance must be reasonable; Scope –– exclude all sports cars, small cars that are too expensive, include both new and used cars that meet the three objectives and used cars that have been in accidents; perspective –– what SUBJECTIVE preferences can be met, such as color, age, sedan versus utility vehicle?
With those three elements addressed, we are ready to begin the search and evaluation of information. The information critical to a good decision is that information that supports the objectives (components of the purpose). For example, if dependability is an objective because the car will be in daily use, information gathered must be limited to only those choices that provide dependability.
Introduction: Building the Decision Creating Alternatives
Skill #8: Applying the evaluation of the information collected in the first part of this step to the objectives set forth in step two to create alternatives that meet as many of the goals of the stakeholders to the decision as possible.
How to develop Alternatives:
- List the conclusions drawn from the research you have conducted. In the case of our car example you may have found two new inexpensive imported sedans and one smaller SUV that would fit your monthly car payment budget and the family, 3 used cars with low mileage -one mini van that meets all the requirements but gas mileage is lower than all the rest, two larger SUV’s one fits all the requirements and has more options than the rest but the monthly payment for is 50$ over the budget, the other SUV is 2 years older, is not a preferred color, has 2000 more miles on the odometer than hoped and was in one small accident. It is also 75$ less than the desired monthly payment.
- Alternatives must make logical sense and meet as many of the objectives as possible. In the car example each of the conclusions reached from the search suggests a possible choice for the decision maker. This would leave six possible alternatives from which the decision maker can choose. In this instance, the alternatives have easily played out from the objectives, but this is not always the case. Sometimes research may not yield as much concrete data to help create decisions then you need to check on the objectives again and see if they are extensive enough. Also, sometimes research will lead you to another objective you did not know was important. For instance, in our car example you may find out that while the sedans fit everyone in the family, the idea of taking a trip in the car seems cramped and difficult with everyone and their luggage. Having found this out, we can exclude the sedans from list leaving us with four possible alternatives.
- Once you have several possible alternatives (four is a good number) carefully evaluate them for any that are obviously not fitting as many objectives as the others. You may want to eliminate that choice.
- Look at the remaining options for ways that may the alternative more inclusive of the objectives. For instance, if the large SUV that is too expensive is really what you would like to own but cannot afford, think about a way that you can pay the difference. How about setting up a car pool to work charging the person(s) enough to make up the fifty dollar difference. The alternative would then become the SUV with a car pool obligation.
- Review the alternatives for risk and uncertainty concerns and consequences that may be of concern when implementing the decision. For instance, in our car example consider the loan for the cars. Is the interest rate higher than the others or the term of the loan longer? Are you unsure about your job? Is the overall debt too high?
Decision statements dictate the objectives, objectives generate the alternatives, and alternative choices are then measured by how best the objectives are met in each alternative. The more objectives that are met in the alternative, the better the choice it is for the decision.