A New Engineering Profession Is Emerging: Decision Coach

Decision coach profession

A New Engineering Profession Is Emerging:
Decision Coach 

Presentation Slides, $0 (PDF)

These slides are from a presentation Baker Street publisher, Dr. Stephen Barrager,  made at a recent INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics and Operations Research  in Huntington Beach, California.

The emperor of all business processes is the process we use to make strategic decisions.   Decisions like product design, portfolio selection, geographic expansion, and the updating  our CIT infrastructure.  The most popular way of making these decisions is to form a team.  The teams are made up of executives and people from engineering and operations.  The cultures and interests of these groups are different.  Their experience working in teams can vary greatly.

The teams muddle through.  Decisions do get made.  Too often the decisions get endlessly reworked and opportunities for innovation are lost.

A team needs a coach. The coach can help the team design a process, select the right tools, bring skilled facilitation, and take responsibility for project management. A well coached team is more efficient and more innovative.

The ideal coach comes from the engineering culture.  Engineers have the analytical and design skills that are so important in complex situations.  They are comfortable working with big data and models.   They also bring a profound understanding of technology and markets.  Many engineers are skilled at working with both the executive and the operating cultures.  Many engineers have a natural entrepreneurial spirit.

Organizations are notoriously bad at learning from past mistakes. A coach can provide the organizational memory that is so important for learning from one project to the next. Many engineers are in fact playing the coaching role. The role is gradually getting recognized in many leading organizations.

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