Friday, March 14, 2008

Where do we start for DAR?

We don’t have any process defined for DAR. We want our firm to achieve Level 3 maturity but we have to start from scratch. How to go about it? Can we have a policy and a guideline for DAR process and integrate in our product creation process? What tools can we use to facilitate DAR?

DAR, or Decision Analysis and Resolution, is a ML3 Process Area that is used to help us make complex decisions in during times of stress and chaos. It is a structured process that uses guidelines and criteria to drive decisions that might otherwise be driven by emotion, money, or vendor favors (like golf, tickets, or cash).

DAR starts with guidelines that determine WHEN it should be used (such as "DAR is always used for product selection"). Then there are criteria and methods defined to help you make the decision.

Like of CMMI PA's, it's perfectly fine to integrate it into your "product creation" processes. In fact, the PA Technical Solution, or TS, takes advantage of DAR in the very first practice.

You can start with some simple guidelines and some spreadsheets that help you manage scoring or setting of criteria. From there you can grow a "DAR Library" that can be reusable from project to project.


Chandrakant said...

DAR is most applicable when the decisions that we are taking are gogin to significantly affect the COST, Schedule and Quality of the project under consideration.

Also there are learnings and sometime clients forces to use a particular tool or process but when we have option we should follow the DAR process to have the optimal solutions.

Also Risks involved in not selecting the next best solution also has to be understood.


Enrique Morey ( said...

Hi Jeff;

About DAR process area. What do you think if, an organization of 80 people, only one person is the responsible and the performer of the formal analysis and decision process? The process says that all Project Managers must be do it, but the boss of them is the only that use (PM put a problem and they don't know the process, Boss review and do DAR process).

I think that process is not institutionalize. And, ML3 is not reach. What do you think?


Doug said...

On the original question,
"Where do we start?" : My company is in a similar situation. There are many localized examples of good critical decision making, but we haven't institutionalized them.
My vision of the DAR would be to create a general DAR process that outlines what is in the CMMI decription so that everyone can see and follow a general decision making template. Then start to build up a library like Jeff suggested that contains the the formal evaluation criteria, some standard alternative solutions, and the evaluation methods for many of the common critical decisions the company makes. Examples that we should immediately consider for inclusion in the library are make-buy decisions, certain hardware design trade-off studies, and tool selection decisions.
In practice if a project needs to make a critical decision that isn't in the library, they should plan the evaluation criteria and follow the general DAR process and formally document the results and decisions. Then that process can be reviewed for inclusion into the organization's DAR library for future use on other projects.