SPEI - Project Decision-Making


It takes millions of decisions by thousands of people to execute a major oil and gas project. A few of these decisions are made by analytical methods, but the vast majority are made via less structured methods including intuition. Project success depends on the effectiveness of all project decisions, not just the few made formally via structured methods. This course applies a variety of insights from diverse fields including psychology, cognitive science, naturalistic decision-making, action science, sensemaking, mathematics and communication theory to improve engineering decision-making. Learnings and insights from the course are used to develop a strategy for improving decision-making and to develop answers to four questions of key importance in project design:

  • Why do so many changes occur late in projects?
  • Why do we have so many problems at interfaces?
  • Why do we repeat mistakes from project to project?
  • Why do projects usually finish late?

Topics include:

  • Collecting and evaluating data to generate conclusions/beliefs
  • How we use preconceived notions to make sense of new data
  • A structured focus on our values to improve our skill at setting objectives and identifying alternatives
  • The cause of defensiveness
  • Individual and organizational learning—why the most important lessons are often the most difficult to learn
  • Naturalistic decision-making; the study of the impacts of stress and expertise
  • Decision theory insights to improve the performance of teams and minimize problems at interfaces between teams

The book, Making Sense and Making Decisions, an engineer’s guide to project decision making, authored by the instructor is the handout used for this course.

Why You Should Attend

Millions of decisions are used to execute a complex project. Success depends on the effectiveness of all project decisions not just the few made formally via structured method. This course is about improving the effectiveness of all project decisions, not just the big ones.

Who Should Attend

Engineers, operations staff and other technical professionals involved in project design, execution or operation.


1.6 CEUs (Continuing Education Units) awarded for this 2-Day course.

Location: SPEI Houston Training Center
10777 Westheimer Rd.
Houston , TX 77042

Date: Sept. 6, 2012, 8 a.m. - Sept. 7, 2012, 5 p.m.