5 Tricks to Overcome “Analysis Paralysis”

Having options is a good thing, except when it isn’t. Project management consulting professionals may occasionally find themselves struggling to make a decision after wading through all the available data and examining the various solutions. What do you do when you just can’t seem to make a decision and move on?

1 – Set a deadline. If your decision doesn’t already have a “must do by” date in the project plan, then now is the time to set one. Continuing to delay this step may cause other project deliverables to slide.

2 – Stop gathering data. This sounds counterintuitive, but chances are good that you know you don’t need more information. Instead, you need to look at the data you currently have, make a decision, and move on. In most cases, continuing to add more data will only exacerbate the issue.

3 – What can go wrong? If fear of failure or repercussions is causing the delay, ask yourself what the consequences might be if you make the wrong decision. Would the situation be recoverable? Does your project have a timeline and/or budget that would allow for the necessary revisions later?

4 – Delegate. If another person in your project management team is qualified to make this decision, why not hand it over to them? Explain that you’re too close to the data, or are too busy with other aspects of the project to devote the time needed to decide on a course of action.

5 – Confer with others. It may not be the type of decision you’d normally mull over with others on your team, but getting another perspective may be just what you need. This is especially helpful if you’ll be presenting your recommendation to senior staff, and may be suffering from a bit of anxiety over that level of visibility.

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