Saturday, December 27, 2008

Decisions, decisions...

Decisions are at the core of everything we do personally and professionally.

Decisions come in all shapes and sizes.. From scheduling an appointment, to deciding on a color, to which projects to undertake or where to invest the money. Some decisions are simple “yes” or “no”, some entail options. Some are unilateral, some require buy-in from others, whether by majority or consensus. Some involve risk and uncertainties and are subject to risk tolerance. Some involve sequences of decisions, and require evaluating each branch separately. Some rely on statistics, others on expert opinions.. Some can be made loosely and others have lots of money and even lives at stake.

Web is an excellent medium for decision-making applications due to their inherently collaborative nature. A few relatively simple decision-making apps have sprung up recently, with some pretty good options, with I’m sure many more to come..

Scheduling decision-making applications are focused on finding mutually agreeable time (setting up appointments, events, etc)

Timebridge and Jifflenow are two examples of such scheduling decision making applications. Both provide a way to coordinate schedules with others using existing calendar solutions.

Idea Management solutions are concerned with democratic system for ranking ideas and suggestions

These tools use among other things the “Digg” approach by allowing others to vote others ideas or suggestions up or down. Some, like Kluster are starting to build in more sophistication by allowing to assign weights and filter on importance criteria.

Apps: Kindling, Kluster, SalesForce Idea Exchange

Workflow system concentrate on getting a decision through a series of check-off’s
Sign-offs are the necessary parts of the workflows. Several tools have recreated the processes involved in getting something signed off on. Instead of having to chase everybody down for a decision, let the software do that for you.

One such tool is Zapproved – it’s a simple, yet effective way to get the sign-off’s you need to push the project forward.

I believe this web application category provides a lot of room for growth and will be one to watch carefully. Now, what will it be, tea or coffee?