Decision Diagrams 101

The world of Information Technology is one that often requires a certain amount of decision making, both on the parts of management, and on the end of the computer program. When managers have to deal with a tough decision, it can be very useful to come up with a way to make the best possible decision based on hard facts. One of the easiest ways to get to the bottom of many business decisions is to draw some decision diagrams that make the decisions you make easier to make.

A decision diagram is a chart (typically a flowchart) that shows the case that you’re dealing with, the options that you can choose, the probable outcome of each, and all the factors that would make a difference in whether or not you should follow through with a decision. In a well-designed decision diagram, everything is labeled in a way that is easy to follow. Typically, all the options are split into a yes or no mode, making it easy to see which decision is best. A good decision diagram can provide a lot of value and insight in any decision, even if you don’t have much quantitative data to add to it.

Decision diagrams can be used to model a variety of different issues with ease. Some of the most common reasons these diagrams are drawn up include major business decisions, such as whether or not a new redesign of your company’s infrastructure is a good idea. However, decision diagrams can also be used as a way to train new IT support staff when it comes to troubleshooting computer and network problems for clients.

Creating a decision diagram is actually quite easy. First, write down the question that you want to make a decision on. Next, come up with all the courses of action that you can make, and how much each decision will cost. Then, figure out the possible outcomes of each course of action, and the chances of each outcome occurring. Then, take a look at the chart. Choose the outcome that is best for your current situation, or at least the outcome that avoids the highest chances of damage. Be forewarned – calculations for risk management purposes can be a bit difficult to deal with in certain decision diagrams. That’s why many IT managers use them solely for general ideas, or at least ideas that aren’t overly complex.

Learning more about decision diagrams can make your role as an IT manager an easier one to deal with. Why not browse the web for a while and experiment with one of the many decision diagram models out there today?