Satisficing your OctopOSS

Herbert Simon, who won a Nobel Prize for economics… identified a decision strategy he calls satisficing: selecting the first option that works. Satisficing is different from optimizing, which means trying to come up with the best strategy. Optimizing is hard, and it takes a long time. Satisficing is more efficient. The singular evaluation strategy is based on satisficing. Simon used the concept of satisficing to describe the decision behavior of businesspeople. The strategy makes even more sense for fireground commanders because of their immense time pressure
Gary Klein
in his book, Sources of Power

Sources Of Power: How People Make Decisions” is a fascinating book about the human decision making process under extreme pressure. It definitely has applications in network operations under alarm storm situations, which will be the topic of future blog entry/ies. However, for this entry, we’ll look at satisficing.

The OctopOSS has scenarios where satisficing applies and others where optimisation is essential. To be more specific, in which aspects of an OSS is time of the essence and incomplete analysis is still sufficient?

  • Requirement capture? Satisfice – but ensuring all stakeholders are heard and the intent is captured (we’ll discuss Commander’s Intent in a later blog entry)
  • Vendor analysis? Satisfice – but with recommendations for undertaking specific elements of optimisation such as process efficiency (refer to benchmarking)
  • Business case? Satisfice – but with sufficient detail for review and decision by the investment committee
  • Contract? 🙂
  • Design? Both – There are areas where Pareto’s rule (the 80:20 rule) apply (ie not getting too bogged down on the unimportant or rarely used cases) and others where efficiency and optimisation analysis and design are required (efficient handling of large data volumes such as alarm and performance management)
  • Implementation? Both – There are times when decisive decision-making is important (project management) and others when detailed analysis is required (some in-flight changes, data gather/create/cleanse/migrate)
  • Operation? Optimisation – an ever-ending search for better ways to run the network
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