Making Decisions

6th May 2021

Making Decisions

It can be hard making decisions, especially when they affect multiple teams and a large number of developers. What if you get it wrong, what if it's not popular? A mistake could be costly, both financially and for morale. This is all true but what are the hidden costs of delaying a decision and is my expectation true that the cost of being indecisive over long periods of time is far greater.

How long does it take to make a Proof of Concept

Seriously! I have sat through endless debates over the last few years about whether to go with Tech A or Tech B. These debates go round and round in circles and none of the many people who are often in these meetings will see a good return on the time they have invested.

Don't get me wrong, a few brief round-tables of ideas can be very helpful but once you have some ideas it is much more valuable for everyone concerned to split up and get them first written down, and second thrashed out in a POC.

This way everyone is a winner, even if a piece of tech is not used, it is very rare that there is a perfect winner and we can probably take learnings from the process.

Write it down

Writing out the ideas on the table and getting things into diagrams helps to solidify thoughts into more concrete options. People should not be concerned that these architecture diagrams are 100% accurate, they are still more effective in team decision making than a whole lot of words dancing around people's heads in a meeting.

It is very true that a group of people can hear the same words and interpret them in completely different ways. You shouldn't be surprised if you leave a meeting more confused than when you started it if there has been no clarification of the decisions or ideas written down and circulated.

Too much time is spent in fantasy

My opinion is that we spend way too much time in this fantasy land inside our heads, I don't know why we value these ephemeral meetings with no tangible output. Get ideas out in the open, get them shared, get them explained in such a way that they speak for themselves. I expect that a whole raft of ideas once considered "genius" would come to light as not feasible much sooner. Teams learn quicker this way and that can only be a good thing for innovation.

Make a decision, get things wrong, get things right

So put your cards on the table, get your hands dirty and make a decision. Sometimes you'll be wrong, sometimes you'll be right but it will be an investment which will grow into a whole lot of value.