Management decision making book Review

imageFirst, hats off to the authors, Barbara von Halle and Larry Goldberg, for producing more than 500 pages on this topic. When you are heads down in client projects all the time, it is difficult enough to find the time to read what is out there let alone contribute in any meaningful way. So, I’m always amazed, and frequently grateful, when others in the field of decision management, like consultants, have the time to lend their perspective and expertise in such detail. I particularly liked the way that Barbara and Larry included the views of other reputable experts throughout the book.

A couple of years ago, one of our key clients issued an RFP which referenced KPI's (Knowledge Partners International) proprietary framework to model and document decisions. I’m glad that the public can now freely access the associated concepts, thanks to this book, The Decision Model, released in 2010.

What I liked the most about the book? Apart from the interesting expert commentaries in Section III which summarize several other books and publications and are worth keeping handy, the most useful content (for me) is in the first section – the discussion that there’s more than data and process in life, that decision modeling is an art and science of its own, complementing other models and modeling paradigms.

For years, if not decades, I feel our modeling views have been limited to two dimensions. On the one hand, there’s the data or information modeling school, dealing with the “what” that any business manipulates. On the other, we have process modeling, focusing on the “how” through the sequencing of tasks. Like business modeling is a key component of BPM, same for rule modeling and Business Rule Management, it is time to promote decision modeling as a key component of Decision Management and The Decision Model leads the way in that direction. With several hundred pages, the topic is certainly addressed in detail, including a scientific rigor, almost a formal proof, which is not going to bring much to most practitioners (Section II). Even with 500 pages on the topic, there is still more to be written on what decision modeling can bring to our world - the why and the how – so that we can all make better and good decisions.

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Book (Harvard Business Press)
  • Used Book in Good Condition