Your project evolves almost as scheduled. You are set – awaiting a major decision of your client or board. This decision defines your next work packages – and it is delayed over and over again. Sounds familiar ?

There are three options now: wait and pile up delays, enforce a decision or embrace the indecision at the expense of additional workload and costs.
The first one is tempting, but in most cases not really an option. Usually this kind of decision is on the critical path of the project, with little or no buffers available and hardly a chance to catch up later on. People are idle, milestones and quality gates move, things get out of sync quickly. And at the end you will have to blame your customer or board for failure – not quite desirable.
The second option most of the time is not really available. Networking, power brokering and opinion shaping take their time. You might move on a minefield, easily killing your project or job.
Embracing indecision needs excellent communication. You have to continue to plan and execute each option in parallel, creating a multiple of the originally planned work, leading to additional demand for resources, which should be approved by the customer or board.
During the early phases of production deployment some indecision can be covered to a certain extent by setting deviation limits to product development, like part dimensions, the number of joining points, joining technologies and joining sequences.
Other topics like part material take more effort: joining steel parts needs a certain set of joining technologies. Joining aluminum parts often needs special part treatment and different joining technologies. So production cells might look vastly different. Depth of production is an other topic with similar consequences.
During engineering phase this kind of indecision puts some additional workload on the engineers. During procurement phase additional bid and tender options have to be planned and checked. During design phase efforts increase rapidly. And when your supplier needs to go into manufacturing things start to become really expensive.
When your customer or board doesn’t decide on major topics, my advice would be to enforce an educated decision: provide the facts about each option, clearly communicate how you are planning to manage the indecision and ask for approval of the resulting additional costs.
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