QBA 591 MANAGEMENT PROBLEM SOLVING

First Summer Session

COURSE CONTENT AND PREREQUISITES

This course teaches you how to better analyze and solve management problems using spreadsheet-based methods. You will learn specific methods for clarifying your objectives, developing alternatives, addressing tradeoffs, and conducting a defensible quantitative decision analysis.

Researchers in problem solving and decision making have learned that untrained decision makers make characteristic errors. You will learn skills and tools to overcome these mistakes which you can put to use immediately, and which will remain effective as you move to greater levels of responsibility. The methods presented are illustrated using successful applications to strategy, operations, and regulation problems.

Prerequisites are basic spreadsheet skills, including elementary charting, and rudimentary probability concepts.

GRADING
Homework 50%
Decision Making Project 50%
LATE ASSIGNMENT POLICY

Experience shows that students who have difficulty with this material generally have not done homework assignments on time and hence have fallen behind in the course. Because the material in this course is cumulative, it is important to keep up. The following is the late assignment policy for this course:

  1. Homework must be handed in on the due date to receive full credit.
  2. Homework handed in up to one class after the due date will receive partial credit.
  3. Extensions to the dates specified in (1) and (2) may be granted in exceptional situations, but such extensions must be agreed to by the instructor prior to the specified due date for the assignment.
  4. Project assignments handed in after the due date will not receive full credit.
COURSE OUTLINE (AND READING ASSIGNMENTS)
  1. Problem structuring ([SDM], Ch. 1)
    1. Structuring objectives ([SDM], Ch. 2)
    2. Developing alternatives ([SDM], Secs. 3.1-3.3)
  2. Value analysis ([SDM], Secs. 4.1-4.7, Appendix A; Optional: [SDM], Sec. 9.1-9.2)
  3. Scenario planning ([SDM], Appendix B)
  4. Resource allocation ([SDM], Secs. 8.1-8.3)
  5. Decisions with uncertainty ([SDM], Secs. 7.1-7.5, Appendix C; Optional: [SDM], Sec. 9.3)
  6. Additional topics
    1. Decisions with interdependent uncertainties ([SDM], Sec. 7.6
    2. Budget allocation (Optional: [SDM], Secs. 4.8, 7.7, 8.4)
READINGS
[SDM] C. W. Kirkwood, Strategic Decision Making: Multiobjective Decision Analysis with Spreadsheets, Duxbury Press, Belmont, CA, 1997.