Expert Judgment – A Project Management Technique


Once I had a conversation with my team member. He just finished a complex customer issue.

I asked him “How are you feeling now?”

With a sigh he told “Uhh. Much relieved and relaxed.”

“Smart boy. You learnt my 3 year experience in a week time” I replied him with a proud smile.

I continued “You can gain more expertise on lot of things by working with me. What do you think about working with experts like me?”

He answered coolly “You can easily find out experts. Experts are the one who asks more questions and does not know the answers to those”.

*******

After reading the above – “Are you laughing at me?” :-) This is not the case in real life project management. Experts are asset to any activity esp. projects. Expert Judgment is a widely used Tools & Techniques in almost all major processes in PMBOK 4th edition from Initiating till Closing of project/phase (To be precise it is used as T&T for 19 processes). In some of the processes it is the one and only technique mentioned.

Experts are those individuals or group who possess specialized knowledge or training in particular area. In project management, experts are either part of the project (i.e. project manager) or involved (i.e. stakeholders) in project processes. Project teams with project manager and team members with relevant experience in the project related subject can perform the project with more success probability than those are not. Other than project team, generally available experts are project consultants, user groups, subject matter experts or senior management people.

Judgment provided by those people with expertise in appropriate project area is utilized at various stages of project phase in order to do effective project management. Their expertise is used to analyze historical information, define & ensure appropriate standards, get various suggestions/advice, evaluate different options, determine best suited options.

In order to get maximum utilization from Expert Judgment, as a project manager, you -

* Create a contact list & skill inventory for each stakeholders on the subject expertise

* Make sure you have adequate communication system in place to contact experts on time

* Ensure you seek expert judgment at appropriate time

* Use delphi technique whenever required. This helps you to reduce biased decisions