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A Structured Decision-Making Process and Staff Engagement Result in Sound Choices for a Major Treatment Facility

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Employees of municipal water and wastewater utilities are talented and have deep personal interest in delivering these essential services. This skilled and dedicated workforce can find it difficult to make decisions about significant matters and have them stick because of differing opinions and organizational culture. A large U.S. water utility used a structured decision process, effectively to help reach decisions about a 100-million treatment facility.

Decision making on major projects can be complicated and lengthy, causing delays, especially in projects with short timelines. Large numbers of stakeholders, both internal and external to the organization, can also influence the timing and ability to reach decisions. Yet another factor in complicated projects is the tendency to “second-guess” decisions, which causes a lot of re-work and re-hashing of ground already churned.

This paper describes the approach that one utility used to help it reach critical decisions about project elements, how it took steps to engage stakeholders in the process, and how the results were validated. The combination of effective approaches, tools, and communication were brought together in a fashion proved to be a recipe for successful decision making and for results that did not return for reconsideration.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-01-01

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