SELL IT BETTER
5 Critical Success Factors for O.R. Projects
If you're discussing or selling an O.R. project, it helps to understand what sort of project or issue will benefit from O.R. and what won't. Tom Cook, founder of American Airlines Decision Technologies, offers these five indicators that O.R. may be right for a project.
- Value of the decision: How much is at stake when it comes to getting the answer right? O.R. has highest impact when there is a lot of money, time, or resources riding on a decision. If the value of getting the right answer is low, it is probably not cost effective to conduct a large study.
- Complexity of the decision: O.R. professionals like a challenge. We're at our best when we're recommending superior decisions after analyzing complex systems and difficult problems. Especially when the problem is complex, taking our scientific approach will pay real dividends.
- Data availability: O.R. is data driven. So make sure the data you need to construct a model is available and that the data is usable. Alternately, make sure that the data can be obtained. If the data is so poor that you wouldn't want the decision resting on it, seek good data or try other means.
- Progressive decision makers: You've got vision. Your client needs it, too. Let your client know at the start that Standard Operating Procedure may be the first thing to go after you submit your report. If the decision makers are progressive enough to accept the recommendations of your O.R. study, this may be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. If they're unwilling to trust your model or you, gain their trust before getting started.
- Funding and resources: Doing O.R. right is an investment. Make sure the dollars are there, and also that the required expertise is available to support your project.