The Art of Decision Making – Part 8: Learn and evaluate

This article continues the discussion from Product Anonymous back in June last year.  Full credit goes to the team and the attendees for providing key steps, insight and critical analysis.

In the last set of posts we defined the problem (topic and people), identified some alternatives, evaluated those alternatives, and even decided and implemented . The final step in the process is #6 – To learn and evaluate.

Now is the time to follow up on the decision; is the implementation going well, has the environment changed and what can you learn from it

Maintain your heading

Publicly stick with your decision.  If the team sees doubt then their commitment to the decision may drop, and it will be less effective.  Reiterating the decision outcome (or in PR terms being ‘on message’)  can seem like a waste of effort for you, but for everyone else who wasn’t part of the process it seems like new information.

Again, the plan is the plan until there is a new plan.

Monitor the outcomes

Follow up on how the decision is being implemented.  Are people working on it? Are the necessary steps being taken?  Are existing processes being modified?  If it is not being implemented then you have further influencing to do.

Follow up on the key metrics and points that were part of the decision analysis.  Are you getting the savings, revenue or traffic you predicted?  Are results shown in both quantitative and qualitative form?  Is everything else being held constant?

Adapt to changes by iterating

“Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.”
Niels Bohr

It is a fact of life that every decision can have unintended consequences.  Or you may find that the decision-making assumptions were wrong.  Or you just aren’t getting the results you were expecting. Or you may just be plain wrong.

The important thing is that you stay on top of the outcomes of the decision, and get involved before they escalate out of hand.  The interesting project work always involves unknowns, and mistakes will be made.


The whole decision making cycle is a perfect opportunity to learn about the business, the process, and the people involved.

Step back and think about the bigger picture.  For example: What would you do differently next time?  How would you have achieved the same result in only 10% of the time?  How could you achieved the same outputs with only 10% of the budget?

Always ask yourself: What will you do better next time?


We are now done.  We have taken the full 6 part process and looked at some of the stickier issues within corporate decision making.

Have you got any other tools to help you make decisions? Please feel free to comment below to add to the discussion.

Go back & read part 7 on Implementation.

Steve is a Product Development Manager at Telstra Wholesale.  The views expressed in this post are his only and do not necessarily reflect the views of Telstra.

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