This assignment is a decision making project, not a research paper. You must analyze a real-life business problem that needs to solved.
This project applies the methods of this course to analyze a business decision problem. Examples of appropriate business decision areas include process improvement or re-engineering, facility siting, new ventures, new products/services, acquisitions, divestments, capital expenditures, lease-buy, make-buy, technology choice, and research/development planning.
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Previous Project Examples:
The project must use the decision analysis methods that we are covering in class. At minimum, the decision problem must have (1) at least three alternatives, (2) at least three evaluation measures, and (3) significant uncertainty about some important element of the decision. You must consult at least two outside expert data sources for information. These sources must include written material. While these requirements are minimums, the real requirement is that the decision problem be defensively analyzed. That is likely to require more extensive analysis than the minimums.
There are three deliverables: 1) a written proposal, 2) an interim report, and 3) final presentation and executive summary. The deliverables are cumulative, and much of what you prepare for each assignment can be used in later assignments.
Proposal: Less than two double-spaced typewritten pages, excluding tables or figures, and includes: (1) Background – a summary of the problem background to be analyzed, (2) Problem Statement â€“ a problem statement (3) Evaluation Considerations & Evaluation Measures – a preliminary list of considerations and evaluation measures, the criteria used for the objective (4) Alternatives – a preliminary list of alternatives to be considered, and (5) Resources â€“ a proposed list of resources to be utilized / consulted to assist in making your decision.Each section of this proposal MUST be labeled.
Interim Report: The interim report contains all the information needed to complete the analysis of the decision problem except that it does not have to include the final numerical calculations and conclusions. This report provides the student with a chance to update their project.Each section of this report MUST be labeled.
Use the following outline for the interim report:
Executive Summary & PowerPoint: The Executive Summary and PowerPoint presentation include (perhaps with corrections) the material in the interim presentation and extend this to complete the numerical evaluation of alternatives. Please use PowerPoint for your presentation and highlight the main points of your summary.
The length of the Executive Summary must be less than ten double-spaced typewritten pages, excluding tables or figures. With the exception of the Conclusions section, the audience is the same as for the interim presentation. Address the Conclusions section to a less technical audience, as discussed below.
You must use the following table of contents for the written report and label each section:
The primary basis for grading the written final report is the degree to which the work, as presented in the report, is complete, accurate, and defensible, and, in addition, how well your results are explained in lay terms in the Conclusions section. Clarity and accuracy of presentation are graded to the extent these make it difficult to judge the quality of the analysis. Examples of common problems in report presentation include 1) failure to include the required information as listed above, 2) failure to follow the specified outline, 3) failure to reference figures, tables, or appendices in the text, and 4) failure to include references for data sources.
The presentations are graded on clarity, accuracy, and completeness of the presentation, as well as appropriate use of PowerPoint, and ability to respond to questions about the analysis. Each presentation should be sufficiently detailed for the listener to judge the quality of the analysis, but the level of detail should also be adjusted to the available time so that the typical listener is not buried in so much detail that he or she cannot keep up with the presentation.
The presentations should be self-contained and directed at someone who understands the material presented in this course, with the exception of the Conclusions section for the final presentation. The Conclusions section should be directed at presenting a convincing case for the preferred alternative to a lay audience. Examples of common problems in presentations include 1) failure to present key elements of the analysis, 2) inclusion of so much material in the visual aids that the viewer cannot absorb this material in the available time, and 4) failure to direct the Conclusions section at a lay audience.