Chapter 7

What Would You Do?

1.      When making decisions, there are many steps that can be taken; but when making good decisions there are really only five steps that need to be considered. These steps are as follows:

a.      State The Problem or Stating Your Goal - Identify the problem. Until you have a clear understanding of the problem, goal, or decision to be made, it is meaningless to proceed. If the problem is stated incorrectly or unclearly then your decisions will be wrong. Be as specific as you can.

b.      Gather Information for Weighing Your Options - When making good decisions it is best to gather necessary information that is directly related to the problem. Doing this will help you to better understand what needs to be done in solving the problem, and will also help to generate ideas for a possible solution. Think about all of the information that you'll need. Make a list of every possible alternative, even ones that may initially sound silly. Always seek the opinions of people that you trust or speak to experts and professionals, because it will help you to come up with a variety of solutions when weighing all your options for a final decision. You will want to gather as many resources and as much information as possible.

c.      Consider the Consequences - This step can be just as important as step one because it will help you determine how your final decision will impact yourself, and/or others involved. In this step, you will be asking yourself what is likely to be the results of your decision. How will it affect you now? And how will it affect your future? How will it affect others around you, always keeping in mind that this is for you.  This is an essential step because it allows you to review the pros and cons of the different options that you listed in the previous step. It is also important because you want to feel comfortable with all your options and the possible outcome of whichever one you choose.  Take a piece of paper and in one column write Pros and in the second column write Cons. In the left hand margin, write down all of the possibilities. Weigh each and every one. Do some more writing about it if need be. Use all of your resources when doing this.

d.      Make the Decision - Here comes the fun or maybe the scary part. You have identified your problem or your goal. You've gathered all of the possible information, gotten information from the experts, and weighed the consequences. Now it's time to make the choice. You've gotten rid of all the alternatives that are silly or not practical or simply do not fit. This is the step that can create a lot of anxiety for people. This is the step where you learn to trust your instincts or "trust you gut." Although you may still be slightly indecisive about your final decision, you have to take into account how this makes you feel. Ask yourself, does it feel right? And does this decision work best for you now, and in the future? When you answer those questions back, you should feel good about the result. This is where I ask people to go into a darkened room, closed their eyes, and go deep inside to think about the decision. How do you feel? Do you feel comfortable? Do you feel good? Let your subconscious work! Walk away from this work for a few days, then go back. How does it feel now? Do you need to tweak anything? Again trust your instincts. They will not fail you!

e.      Evaluate Your Decision - A decision has no value unless you put it into action. If you are not good with taking action steps, then find someone that is to help you. Part of the implementation phase is the follow up. The follow up ensures that you're following up!  Make a list of the necessary steps to put your decision into play. Then prepare to proceed step-by-step. This may take perseverance on your part. It may take some time to see the final outcome. You can tweak the decision along the way or you might just go ahead and go back to step two and choose another option. Remember, this step requires some patience, and it can also encourage perseverance. Why? Because it may take some time to see the final outcome. Always looking for and anticipating unexpected problems will help alleviate undue stress, if and when a problem occurs.  You can use these five steps for any goal setting or for making any kind of decision. Write a couple of practice scenarios. See how they feel. Before long, you'll be adept at this process. You'll have added another essential skill to living life successfully.

2.      If I was the project manager and needed to find six weeks of work in only two weeks, I would honestly try to extend the time period, even if the customers got angry or upset for an extended release date.  I would obviously want my team to work as hard as possible, I would tell management to not let the employees or developers of the software that they absolutely need to figure out what is going on, even if people lose their jobs over it. 

Cases:

1.       

a.      The John Hopkins system in the case is a mission critical system.  Its failure effects the business operations as they cannot perform any operations if the system has failed (e.g. they cannot know the whereabouts of a patient, cannot add data to the database, etc.).  It doesn’t result in loss of any human being or at least injury. The best example which is safety critical but not mission critical is control automobiles antilock brakes because if that system fails, then there is damage to the environment.

b.      Yes, cache software and tools should be considered a safety-critical system and undergo the rigorous development process.  For Intersystem, the cost of production, maintenance and frequency of software modifications and updates of such systems would be definitely high compared to the other companies all due to the development process and the fact that it is safety critical system.  Initially it would give the company a disadvantage but once they earn the trust of the customers they would be definitely be at an advantage with respective other companies.

c.      Yes, every organization that builds safety critical systems is required to have all its system development processes and tools ISO-9000: 2008 certified.  If the system fails, then it results in human injury or loss and the later one may be catastrophic.  These systems are developed to make lives of human beings easier, but instead, if they result in loss of lives then there is no point in building these systems.

2.       

a.      The most important thing would be testing the software thoroughly (through different stages and on different platforms). And before deploying to a large firm first of all they have to deploy it in small firms so that they will know what the defects are and accordingly they have to proceed to bigger firms.

b.      Organizations have to check their software and update the software periodically to avoid any glitches that may creep into the software.  They have to stop using the software immediately if something bad happens due to involvement of the software.