Purpose : Need to make a few business decisions. There are 2 ways to go about it. Each of these have multiple ways to go about. So, it is a randomly nested decision flow path.

Need a system with following features

  1. Create a workflow with all the paths.
  2. Assign the probability of success at each event. (Min., Best guess, and Max)

The software tells me the best possible path. Is something like that possible, and what are the advantages and disadvantages.

  • I edited this question to make it sound like the op isn't asking for a recommendation for a product but is instead asking what the advantages/disadvantages are of such a tool.
    – jmort253
    Jun 3, 2012 at 20:04

6 Answers 6


Brain? Not really software, but soft matter. :)

  • I'm with David on it... the only benefit of using a software to define such paths would be to have something else to blame when things go wrong.
    – Tiago Cardoso
    May 31, 2012 at 16:41

I'd have to agree with David. :)

There's no substitute for expert judgement. What you're asking for would require a number of variables to be identified and entered, that by the time you got all of that done you'd probably have enough information to just make the decision yourself.

Plus, on the psychology side, making the decision yourself is going to put more weight and belief behind it than just doing what a computer told you to do.

  • Exactly... the next step would be to have a software tool to assign tasks according to the available resources. Next step? Drop the PM from the project and keep the software doing the job.
    – Tiago Cardoso
    May 31, 2012 at 16:55

I don't know of a piece of software that will solve this for you, but you can apply routing algorithms (if you don't mind a bit of math).

I would suggest a whiteboard and a hand drawn tree, then you can use Dijkstra's algorithm to determine the best path.

As for the other comments, using your brain is fine, but it tends to offer you perspective of the whole, and it makes it harder to analyse each piece individually, then combine them as a whole.

  • That is not what I meant by brain. Using tools to help capture data, synthesize, calculate, sort, etc., if perfectly fine. It is not unlike using a sophisticated EV suite to capture performance against your baseline and that will calculate your indices. However, such a tool does not "[tell] me the best possible path." A tool can only generate symbols. It is us who interprets those symbols. May 31, 2012 at 19:13
  • Completely valid, and I agree. But I think @Rahul is simply looking for something to help him manage his thoughts, and any software aids typically come with features that will let him quickly represent this justification to the business.
    – MaddHacker
    Jun 1, 2012 at 9:35
  • There are a whole host of DM software but they are specific to the business area or function versus something that is generic. CRM, HRM, ERP, SAP, risk management SW, EV SW, scheduling tools, monte carlo simulators, etc. This suggests that the type of decision you are making requires a specialty tool because of the type of data and the manner of synthesization. Our generic tool is the spreadsheet, or as you suggest, the whiteboard. Jun 1, 2012 at 11:13

It sounds like you need to run a series of Monte Carlo experiments on a network diagram. This will help you make a more informed decision.


I assume that you'll need a human being to input the data that the software would need:

  1. Create a workflow with all the paths.

  2. Assign the probability of success at each event. (Min., Best guess, and Max)

I recommend looking at David Snowden's work on complexity thinking, including the Cynefin model, to find out whether your domain is complex (in which patterns will be emergent and probably a machine program will not be able to deal with the complexity) or complicated (in which it might be possible to provide a machine with a certain amount of expertise). He also mentions other domains, including the chaotic, in which you will want to act quickly rather than plug numbers into a machine.

If the decision is one which is made again and again, with well-understood data - for instance, whether and how to trade based on current risk profiles - then, yes, it may be possible to create software to help make that decision. Even then, though, human intervention may occasionally be required.

Otherwise, the biggest problem with decision making is not making the decision as much as finding the information needed to make the best decision in the first place. Also, human beings are awful at handling probability, so our guesses for min, best and max are likely to include significant bias.

Unless you actually create a computer program to collate this data for you, anything you write will have to work with the same flawed data that we do. The best decisions are often those designed to keep as many options as possible open until later; deciding when to make the decision rather than making it early with incomplete information. Chris Matts and Olav Maassen have done quite a lot of work on the principles of Real Options which may be helpful for understanding why and how this works.


Human intelligence is higher priority in decision making .

software decision making system makes decision on the basis of intelligenc programmed in software . while according to time, information and situation changes .there are number of factor varies according to time where decision making software not fit for making right decision.

human brain and its intelligence  is right for
decision making .

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