Suggested Reading: “Decision-making in the Public Sector,” INFORMS, October 2019

October 21st, 2019|NEWS: SME Insight|
Decision-Making in the Public Sector

Kara Morgan’s “Decision-making in the Public Sector,” an article appearing in the October 2019 edition of the Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences (INFORMS) journal, ORMS Today, is worth a read for both decision makers and those who inform those decisions. The article serves as a reminder that a consistent and deliberative decision-making process is as important as the outcome itself and is worthy of reflection. This is particularly true in today’s environment, where the quantity of information to consider and the pace and complexity of decisions are increasingly at odds.

ORMS Today, October 2019

A consistent and deliberative decision-making process is as important as the outcome itself.

With no intent to steal the author’s thunder, a number of points stand out:

  1. Decision-making IS the business of the public sector, with both wide and long-term ramifications.
  2. Political factors make good decisions even more important.
  3. Prioritized risk assessment should be an overt part of decision making.
  4. Complex decisions have identifiable characteristics, and a decision-maker’s domain experience alone is not sufficient to address these decisions adequately.
  5. A basic premise of decision science is that the quality of the decision is “not determined by the ultimate outcome,” but by “how well it aligns with the decision-maker’s values.”
  6. Using decision science to control the decision-making process can lead to a high-quality decision even when one is uncertain about the outcome.
  7. The process steps for good decision making are known and are iterative in nature.
  8. Ill-defined problem definitions, data selection, lack of stakeholder involvement, and bias are common decision-making process errors.
  9. No analysis can unequivocally select the best alternative, but it can “inform decision making by providing insights about potential outcomes and uncertainties and by clarifying what the implications of any particular decision could be.”

Dayton Aerospace Support

Dayton Aerospace is well positioned to help public sector programs address their decision-making challenges. Our subject matter experts (SMEs) have successfully performed multiple analyses assessing the trade-offs between competing priorities and have guided government leadership through the evaluation of quantitative and qualitative data as well as risk. We have substantial experience tackling all phases of the analytics process—problem definition; business and analytic objective definition; ground rules and assumption identification; data definition; data collection and integration; analysis and results interpretation; results evaluation against objectives; and communication and deployment of recommendations. Dayton Aerospace provides customers with data-driven decisions and the analytics necessary to both support them and to perform additional inquiries.

Brian Waechter

About the Author

Brian Waechter, SA, SASM, PO/PM, PfMP, LSS BB, Colonel, USAF (Ret) has over 35 years of experience as a senior acquisition, logistics, and maintenance officer; defense industry vice president and business unit leader; operations research analyst; and Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. He has helped numerous programs analyze complex decisions through the application of sound decision analysis. Read more>