I am rarely the person directly in charge of the business itself (CEO, CIO, CTO). Department yes (PMO, DIR) whole business no. I work for CEO's, CIO's, Program Managers, Policy Directors. What I have learned from all these leaders is both simple and complicated.
They have a hard headed view of how business works. Revenue comes in. Cost to produce that revenue is known ahead of time. Surprises in this cost are not welcome. Everyone talks to each other in probabilistic numbers. Accounting speaks in single point values. Business people and finance people speak in probability and statistics.
All the worlds's a random process, evolving, impacted by externalities outside the control of the process, non-linear interactions among the components of the system.
Decision making in the presence of these conditions requires several attributes for success:
- What are the underlying behaviors of the system in terms of statistical processes? Are the processes stationary or are they time dependent or dependent on some other processes?
- What are the parameters of the system that are first order impacts on the decisions?
- In the presence of naturally occurring and event based uncertainties, business decision makers depend on estimates of the outcomes of their decisions. To make a decision in the presence of uncertainty means assessing the probabilistic outcomes of that decision.
- By definition, if you are making decisions in the presence of uncertainty, you are estimating the outcomes. If you're not estimating, or have redefined what you're doing as #NoEstimates when in fact it is estimating, then the only thing left is guessing. And even guessing is a 50/50 estimating technique at worst.
Managers are not confronted with problems that are independent of each other, but with dynamic situations that consist of complex systems of changing problems that interact with each other. I call such situation messes .... Managers do not solve problems, they manage messes - Russell Ackhoff, "The Future of Operational Research is Past," Journal of Operational Research Society, 30, No. 2 (February 1979), pp. 93-104