Better Decisions

This set of articles is about identifying and managing uncertainty to improve outcomes. Almost all investments are made under uncertainty, and many are made to mitigate an identified risk. Yet the cost of the investment is often the component of the value equation that is best known; the benefit and risk components are harder to quantify, but vital. One method we use is the power of your corporate crowd, since there's lots of evidence that a diverse group of people can outperform an expert in making forecasts and other judgment calls. Our method uses statistics to tap the collective knowledge and experience of all the people around you. It does this inexpensively and repeatably, in a transparent way that allows decisions to be supported by the known facts, plus collective intuition to fill in where facts are scarce.

Who is your Jami-Lee Ross?


Could someone in your team bring it all tumbling down?

To be engaged, people must be convinced that their opinions are heard and that the knowledge they have is factored in to important decisions. We are all realistic enough to know that not every opinion can be acted on, but we want to see that our knowledge and opinion is really considered, not just given lip service.

How can we do that? A systematic process to gather information before important decisions. Show your team that you value the knowledge and experience each one of them brings to the table, by showing them how it is really, actually factored in to decision-making.

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How Good are your Estimates


Forecasting (outcomes, benefits, risks) is fundamental to investing wisely. Most of us just don't get the practice and particularly not the rapid feedback.
The weather forecasting fraternity have used the Brier score for years to drive improvements. It judges how realistic you were in expressing your confidence by the width of your forecast range. Once you can measure your ability to estimate, you can train to improve that ability.

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Everything is a Bet


Annie Duke is a psychology PhD turned Poker queen turned author of Thinking in Bets- see her 90 minute Google interview at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYNsSeYjkp4

But I'll summarise for you. Everything is a Bet. And the sooner you internalise that, the better.

We don't know Jack, it's all just estimates, which amount to bets.

For example, your car's speedometer- do you know how accurate it is? how accurate it has to be, by law? It shocked me.

So to make any sense of estimates, we must talk the language of bets.

Bookmakers have conditioned us to think of bets as win or lose, and the background of pedigree, training etc too complex to be knowable.

But poker players know that reality is more complex. The odds change with what you learn as the game progresses.

Reverend Bayes turned that mathematical, but the principle is not so hard. The odds change with what you learn. Choose the business experiments that reduce the odds at least cost.

With preparation, you can do this yourself. AcuteIP.com offers a set of services to make it easy, from workshops and technical services to managing the whole exercise.
Contact Graham.Harris at AcuteIP.com to explore possibilities.

There is a printable PDF infographic depicting AcuteIP.com's approach to using the Wisdom of your Crowd

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© 2018 Graham.Harris at AcuteIP.com

Estimating for Architects


A presentation I delivered to the Enterprise & Solution Architecture meetup group in Auckland. IT Architects have to estimate many things at an early stage of development, when the cone of uncertainty is widest. This presentation suggests ways in which architects and other early-stage estimators can estimate both cost and value, systematically reducing the uncertainty.

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