Understanding and applying different decision models for increasing organization agility

Agility implies responding to change appropriately. Every response is a decision. Sometimes we choose among several competing options, sometimes not. Some decisions demand immediate action, others require us to step back and think and weigh our options. There are many decision models that can support how we respond. Often, our decisions are part of a series of interrelated decisions that influence each other. From this perspective, the agility of an organization can be viewed as an outcome of decisions made over time.

Rebecca Wirfs-Brock and I held a workshop session at XP2020 on this topic. In this workshop session, we discuss how to apply three specific decision styles and models that are useful in different circumstances.

Some of the models we use in this workshop come from the field of Naturalistic Decision Making (NDM), which has the goal of studying how people actually make decisions in a variety of real-world settings. Settings in which NDM is appropriate are characterized by time pressure, high stakes, experienced decision makers, inadequate information, ill-defined goals, poorly defined procedures, context, dynamic conditions, and team coordination. In this session we explore NDM in the context of organization agility.

The slides are available to download here.

Learning outcomes from the workshop include:

  • Learning about Decision Models and how they apply to Agile Software Development and Organization Agility.
  • Understanding of how to apply and combine different decision models in different contexts. Specifically, we explore analytical decision making, naturalistic decision making, and recognition-primed decision models.
  • Understand the role of heuristics and experiments in making decisions and taking action.
  • Understand the role of expertise and how it influences decision and action in organizations.
  • Understand the circumstances under which decisions are best taken by individuals, and those where decisions are best taken in groups.
  • Understand how decisions influence each other and compound over time.
  • Approaches for when and how to record decisions.