The Last Responsible Moment: the value of delaying decisions

Delaying decisions may sound like procrastination, avoiding tough decisions or just plain laziness but there is an art and a real business value to delaying decisions. This is especially important in software development and technology decisions in general. Kansas City hometown hero and former President Harry Truman was known to always ask when the last possible date a decision could be made when presented with issues to decide on. He saw the value of optimally delaying decisions to include the most up-to-date information possible to increase the value of the ultimate decision. Lean (Agile) Software Development expert, Mary Poppendieck does a great job of discussing this in her book, “An Agile Toolkit”. I’ve worked with many IT professionals that thrive on checking items off their To-do list as quickly as possible feeling that they’re making process. As often as not, deciding on something too early can lead to lost opportunities and needless resource expenditures. So the next time you are presented with a decision to be made, take it from Harry and ask when the decision actually needs to be made. Trust me, checking it off your To-do list will still feel like progress regardless of when it occurs.