Acceptable range. A range of values of a measure that delineate safe or acceptable conditions for the attribute being analyzed.
Acceptable limits. Threshold values of a measure beyond which the consequences of the action are unacceptable. The extremes of the acceptable range.
ACTION cycle. Decision Protocol phase that compares alternative proposals for meeting objectives, avoiding adverse effects, cost, feasibility, and other criteria. It describes a logical and defensible rationale for selecting the best proposal and how different assumptions might influence the choice.
Action. A project or program composed of a planned set of management activities (see below). The action can be proposed, on-going, or invasions stages of implementation.
Activity - Individual component actions of projects or programs undertaken to achieve some desired condition. Activities are component parts of a management action.
Activity option. Different activity type or level of activity that constitutes an alternative approach to the activity proposed.
Adaptive response . Adaptive responses are planned shifts in activity in response to monitoring signals.
Adaptive signal. Output from a monitoring program that indicates the response of an attribute
to a management activity or natural event. At planned levels or values of this signal, management activities are reevaluated and possibly modified to more closely pursue the action's objectives or minimize adverse consequences.
Additive consequences. The cumulative result of an action interacting with other actions, proposals, or foreseeable actions in which the total effect is the addition of the effects of the individual actions.
Alternative action. A distinctly different set of activities proposed for accomplishing an objective or solving a problem. There can be many alternatives for achieving any given objective. Decision making involves choosing the alternative that satisfies criteria for meeting the objective..
Analysis team. The group of specialists and experts that helps define the problem, analyses the information base, and assesses the consequences of the alternatives. Part of the decision team, along with the deciding officer and stakeholders.
Anchoring. The tendency for an expert to adhere to their initial estimates unless they are assisted in recognizing the true variability in outcomes.
Attribute. A property or characteristic of a situation component. Attributes describe what is valued about the component. Attributes may be quantified with one or more measures. Changes in the values of a measure indicate changed in the state of an attribute.
Audit Question. A Decision Protocol question that tries to determine the clarity, consistency, or completeness of the decision process or documentation.
Bias. Systematic distortion, illusion, or mistake that detracts from decision quality.
Brainstorm. Generation of ideas by a group in which members rapidly contribute ideas unhampered by criticism and debate.
Cause/effect diagram - a graphical representation of a group or cause-effect relationships, represented as activities and attributes or components interconnected by arrows that describe direction of influence.
Cause- effect relationship. The link between an activity, event, or an attribute and an attribute or measure. Any situation consists of many of these cause-effect relationships at varying levels of complexity.
Choice. The selection of an alternative action by a deciding officer.
Compensatory consequence. The cumulative result of an action interacting with other actions, proposals, or foreseeable actions in which the total effect is less than the sum of effects of the individual actions. This occurs because the positive effects of one or more of the actions compensate for the negative effects of others.
Component. Principal element of a situation to which consequences or changes may occur either naturally or in response to the management action being proposed. Components are composed of attributes or recognizable properties. A component can be a biological or physical resource, organization, societal custom, economic conditions.
Confidence level (degree of certainty). An expression by the team or individual member in the ability of the information and/or expertise as a basis for predicting consequences ( the value of a measure) at the required time and geographic scale.
Conjunction error. The tendency to overestimate the likelihood of several events occurring together.
CONSEQUENCES cycle. The phase of the Decision Protocol that predicts the values of important problem measures under each of the alternatives. Teams identifies measures for predicting changes (effects), sets acceptable, evaluates sources of information, and quantifies the expected consequences (effects) of the alternatives. Also estimates the consequences of interactions between the alternatives and other projects and describes how key uncertainties affect the consequences.
Consequence monitoring. The planned, regular sampling of consequence measures to determine the result of an implemented management action and to compare changes with established baseline conditions. .
Consequences. The end result of an action or natural event as manifested in the one or more of the situation components and their attributes.
Core Questions. Questions in the Decision Protocol that elicit thinking and communication. Core questions are unique to the cycle and relate to other questions within the cycle and in the other cycles of the Protocol.
Critical assumptions. Conditions or states of information assumed by the decision team (deciding officer or analysis team) that contribute to the choice of a particular alternative action or differences in the expected consequences of different alternatives. .
Cumulative consequences. effects of the proposed activity may be repeated or interact with other activities to produce that are different than the sum of the simple effects.
Deciding officer. The person responsible for making the final choice of alternatives and , usually for implementing the course of action described in the selected alternative. Part of the decision team. May also be called the Responsible official, line officer, manager, or other terms of authority and responsibility.
Decision team. The combination of the deciding officer, the analysis team, and cooperating stakeholders.
Decision criterion. A factor or attribute that is used to judge alternative actions.
Decision analysis. A collection of techniques for eliciting and integrating uncertainty, preference, and decision stricture in an overall framework to guide rational choice.
Decision quality. The property of a decision process that lead to thinking and communication to achieve desirable and feasible change. A high quality decision is one that (a) accurately describes the problem and decision criteria, (b) uses information effectively, (c) collects new information wisely, (d) generates and chooses many alternatives, (e) distinguishes facts, myths, values, and unknowns, (f) describes consequences of the alternatives, and (g) leads to choices that are consistent with important values.
Decision rationale. The reason(s) for selecting an alternative.
Decision outcome. The result of the action taken. Outcomes can be expected (predicted for the future) or actual (realized).
Decision content. The subject matter of the situation and the problem being solved. Content is distinguishable from process and outcome.
Decision process. The tasks and steps in solving a problem, including design of the process, problem framing, solution design, consequence prediction, choice, and implementation.
Decision. A choice from among alternative actions for solving a problem or otherwise creating a desirable and feasible change. .
DESIGN cycle. The Decision Protocol phase in which the team generates alternatives. The phase proposes activities that will accomplish the objectives based on cause-and-effect relationships between activities and desired changes in attributes. Combines these activities into a design for action and identifies alternative actions, including no-action and status quo. This includes adaptive management and mitigation refinements as well as monitoring needs.
Design. The process of creating activities to accomplish objectives, assembling these activities into alternative actions, and refining these alternatives to predetermined levels of acceptability.
Dialectical inquiry. A structured discussion that assigns one person or group to defend a problem statement, another to present an alternative statement. Each group lists their assumptions about the situation and attacks the other teams assumptions. A third group evaluates the results of the debate and synthesizes a compromise problem statement and solution (Evans 1991).
Direct causal relationships. A situation in which the affected attribute measure increases (decreases) as the causal attribute or activity increases (decreases).
Duration. The length of time the value (magnitude, extent, etc.) Of a measure will continue.
Effect. The difference between the future value of the measure without the alternative action and the future value under the influence of the activity.
Expected consequences. The predicted result of an action or natural event as manifested in the condition of one or more of the situation components and their attributes.
Expert judgment. The informed estimation or prediction based on the informed opinion of a human specialist, based on analytical reasoning and an interpretation of the scientific base and the situation.
Expert panel. Group of experts organized to produce an estimate, prediction, or interpretation of some phenomenon.
Extent. The span of influence of a measure in terms of geographic area, structural characteristic, functional process, or some other scale.
Feasibility. The ability of an action to be accomplished as described in the plan or analysis. Ability to overcome barriers to be technically, financially, and logistically feasible
Force-field analysis. A technique for problem analysis that visualizes it as a boundary between forces sustaining a situation from getting worse and the forces restraining it from getting better. The strategy is to identify forces of either type can be modified to alleviate the problem.
Global range. A range of measure values from the lowest (worst) possible to the highest possible(best) values. The acceptable and likely ranges of this measure lies within the global range.
Groupthink. The tendency for group members to agree because they want to be cooperative or fear reprisals (Janis 1972). Groupthink can lead to poor choices that most of the members individually did not prefer to make.
Hindsight bias. The tendency for an expert to overestimate events he has experienced and underestimate the likelihood of events he has not experienced.
If-then" rulebases. An approach that describes a cause-effect relationship as "if "some activity or attribute value "then" some measure. A rulebase consists of a network of if-them statements that describes the important relationships involved in solving a problem.
Implementation plan. A description of how the proposed action will be put into practice, including specific activities, responsibilities, timelier, and contingency plans.
Implementation monitoring. The collection of information to determine whether the activities are being implemented successfully and as planned.
Influence diagraming. A form of cause-effect analysis that uses graphical and statistical techniques to predict the likelihood of different measure values in response to proposed activities (Schacter 1986 and 1987).
Information questions. Questions in the Decision Protocol that evaluate how much and what kinds of information and analysis are required to improve the quality of the decision.
Initial assessment questions. Questions in the Decision Protocol that determine the clarity, consistency, or completeness of the decision process prior to entering the cycle.
Interdisciplinary (ID) Team. An analysis team composed of members from different disciplinary specialities.
Inverse causal relationships If the affected factor decreases (increases) as the causal factor increases (decreases).
Intuitive. An approach to prediction and choice that emphasizes subjective judgment and recognition of cues over logical analysis and detailed rationale.
Knowledge gap. A deficiency in information about the situation, cause-effect relationships, activity characterization, or other elements that may be important in making a high quality decision.
Lateral thinking. An approach to problem analysis and alternative generation based on stating the problem in the terms of another discipline or subject area ( e.g. sociological instead of a biological problems) (de Bono 1994).
Learning questions. Questions in the Decision Protocol that prompt the team to evaluate and apply the organization's experiences and to document members' thinking so that others can learn from them.
Likelihood. The probability of an even occurring or a value of a measure becoming a reality. This likelihood can be derived directly from empirical data or model output or can be estimated by experts.
Magnitude. The value of a measure per unit of time or space.
Managerial flexibility. The property of an alternative that allows managers in the future a range of options and the ability to flex or modify the strategy to respond to natural or human events, new information, or unforseen outcomes.
Measure. The quantifiable scale that describes the condition of an attribute. This scale can be in natural units, categories, or constructed as an index.
Mind-map. A depiction of cause-effect relationship as a network of circles and arrows to capture how the expert sees the situation.
Mitigation. Additional activity or standards on the level or nature of an activity that forestalls or compensates for the activity's adverse consequences.
Modification. Structural changes in the activity or combination of activities that avoids particular adverse consequences.
Monitoring. The process of collecting information to evaluate whether implementation is proceeding and planned outcomes are being achieved.
Multiattribute utility. A quantitative scale that describes the relative preferences of a decision maker for different aspects (attributes) of possible outcomes.
Multiplicative consequences. The cumulative result of an action interacting with other actions, proposals, or foreseeable actions in which the total effect is greater than the sum of the simple effects.
Natural variability. Pattern of measure values or outcomes found in baseline or status quo conditions. This pattern can be described as a probability distribution.
No-action alternative. The action that involves no change in the level or nature of activity. Also known as the status quo. In some environmental decisions, the no-action may be viewed as a zero-activity alternative, meaning a reduction in activity from any on-going management program.
Normalized subjective value scale. A measure scale that assigns 0 or 1 to the worst condition for that attribute and 100 to the best condition.
Opportunity. A condition of the situation that offers some likelihood of gain in one or more measures.
Organizational culture. A set of norms that prescribe how members will operate and get work done. These norms, or ground rules, may be unwritten, perhaps unstated, but they are the basis of habit and sacred beliefs. Culture can vary with organizational unit as well as agency. Recurrent, predictable patterns of behavior
Overconfidence bias. The tendency for humans to think they know more than they actually know in making predictions. This shows up as a range of predicted values that is smaller than the range of actual values of the same measure.
PROBLEM Cycle. Decision Protocol phase in which the team frames or describes the problem in terms that can be addressed with alternative actions. The PROBLEM cycle describes the situation; identifies critical components; states the reason(s) for proposed actions and the perspectives of different stakeholders about the change(s) being proposed. The cycle also evaluates the information available to define the problem, and describes knowledge gaps.
Problem solving. The process of making decisions and implementing actions to create desirable changes in a situation.
Problem framing. Characterization of a situation to be improved or corrected. The problem frame consists of measure, scope, reference and desired conditions of the measure. Consists of problem identification, problem representation, and problem acceptance.
Problem. The conditions of one or more attributes of a situation that are unsatisfactory to one or more stakeholders and are candidates for change.
PROCESS cycle. The phase in the Decision Protocol that helps the team design how the decision process will be handled, supported, and what may constrain the process.
Proposed action. A combination of activities that is designed to meet the objectives in solving the problem, to compromise among competing objectives, and to minimize unwanted consequences.
Quantifiability. Property of a measure that describes its capability of being quantified or classified into categories, levels, or other units of value.
Range of alternative actions. The array of alternatives designed for a particular set of problems or objectives.
Ranking. Putting alternatives in rank order from the most to least preferred by the deciding officer.
Rating. Assigning a numerical value to an alternative to describe how well it is expected to perform relative to other alternatives on the same set of objectives.
Refinement. A change in a prototype proposed action during the design process in order to better achieve objectives or minimize adverse consequences. Refinements can be modification, mitigations, or adaptive responses (see elsewhere).
Reliability. The ability of the information or expertise to consistently predict or detect the actual values or a measure.
Risk averse. A stance in choosing an alternative that attempts to minimize uncertainties and possibly irreversible consequences. In decision analysis, risk aversion is the inability to accept a fair bet. Risk-neutral, in contrast, is a choice based on the long-run probabilistic average (expected value) of the predicted outcomes. Risk-taking is a choice that gravitates to the alternative that offers the high possible outcomes, even with the exposure to est
Risk. Exposure to a chance of loss. Exposure is the path through which the risk agent affects a value. Chance is the likelihood of that path being taken. Loss is the negative change in a measure of some value. Loss can be viewed as a relative measure so that not achieving a maximum gain can be viewed as a loss.
Robust alternative. An alternative action that responds to multiple perceptions of the problems and is expected to result in favorable outcomes across a wide range of uncertain conditions.
Scenario planning. A collection of techniques for describing possible futures from sets of key uncertainties and situation components. The ranges in these futures are used to identify emerging problems, design actions, and develop information collection (Wack 1985, Geus 1986).
Sensitive. Property of a measure that describes its responsiveness to environmental influences and management activities. A measure chosen for problem framing or consequence analysis must be sensitive enough to detect differences in the performance of the alternatives.
Sensitivity analysis. The process of testing a model or the choice among alternatives against possible variations in information or critical assumptions.
Speed. The time it takes for a measure to reach a particular value; the rate of change of a measure value..
Subjective judgment. Estimate by a human being of some event or quantity based strongly on intuitive, perhaps unexplainable influences. .
Summary table. Section if word tables following each cluster of Core Questions that documents the team's thinking and agreements. These tables are designed to be used keeping track, avoiding duplication, and explaining the status of the decision.
Synectics. A technique in which the problem is identified by thinking about analogies to the problem (Doyle and Straus 1982).
Trade off. The acceptance that choosing one alternative will forego the relative benefits or opportunities of alternatives not selected.
Uncertainty. A lack of knowledge about the future. Sources of uncertainty include natural variability, ambiguity, and lack of knowledge about underlying casue-effect relationships. Great levels of uncertainty can be a barrier to accurate problem definition and prediction of consequences.
Understandability. The ability of a measure to be understood by decision makers and stakeholders and to be linked in their minds to the attribute and componenets it is developed to characterize.
Unintended consequences (side effects). The consequences of an action on measures that are not part of the problem-solving objective. These are consequences, nevertheless, and should be integrated into the comparsion of alternatives. Unintended consequences can be foreseen or unforseen.
Validity. The property of information that describes its contribution to accuracy in detecting given measures and it relevance to the problem-solving task.
Value of information. The contribution of a piece of information to the ability to discrimminate between competing claims or alternatives compared with the cost of obtaining the information.
Weighted ranking. A collection of methods for ordering alternatives according to the relative importance of their different dimensions and the expected outcomes in these dimensions.
Worst-case. Scenarios describing accidents, mistakes, natural disasters, and others events and combinations of events that result in maximum losses and dispruption.