Decision making support & complex project management

Tangled up in complexity

Today’s executives face a complex decision making environment characterized by high uncertainties, a large number of variables and usually a short period for response. Executive management requires a very special expertise: the ability to deal with multi-sector and interdependent themes (water, energy, land planning, climate change impacts, supply chain considerations and corporate social responsibility) accounting for possibly severe time pressure or data scarcity, while entertaining a long term horizon, large perimeter of analysis or handling high risk country profiles.

The failure of traditional approaches

Along this type of challenges, two types of pitfalls are unfortunately quite common. One states that the complexity under scope is somehow unique and hence too special to benefit from inputs of different backgrounds. It is in fact seldom the case, but this fallacy often results in giving up on the problem: if there is a complete shortage of adequate offer why bother being outward looking? The second pitfall builds on the idea that lining up a set of experts can address any shortcomings. Albeit proactive, this approach fails to reckon that complexity often stems from the elusive interplay among different fields. The very characteristic of a good venture is precisely that its sum is greater than its parts, so tackling the parts individually simply falls too short. Even assuming the problem boils down to sole expertise, finding which one and to what extent is hardly a straightforward case. To engage in a disaster prevention investment strategy for a coastal city, what kind of expertise do you think is best relevant to put forward: hydrology, seismology, economics, or finance?

A different approach

In fact, the complexity inherent to many projects seldom results from their sole technical intricacies, but rather arises from the difficulty to properly grapple the interplay among the various expertise and responsibilities involved. The way forward, at the very least, is quality communication with the relevant stakeholders (public authorities, investors, technical experts…), whose respective culture and approach to the issues may significantly differ. In order to bring the most added value in such contexts, Guillaume Dulac provides a three pronged support, opportunely combined on each mission: a hybrid technical-management approach, model development and management of project critical phases.