What is the Uncertainty Project?

The Uncertainty Project is a constantly evolving, community-driven collection of research-backed models and tools that helps companies architect processes for effective decision making.

Built by practitioners, for practitioners, this is meant to be a collection of building blocks; not a heavy, prescriptive framework. It enables individual managers, teams, as well as whole organizations to implement systematic decision making practices at varying levels of complexity.

The Problem

The way we have worked over the past 20 years in the age of the internet has been informed by hundreds of years of antiquated management styles from the industrial age. In the fairly nascent world of neuroeconomics, it seems one of the most misunderstood areas of opportunity is not how organizations optimize outputs, but how they make effective decisions to maximize outcomes.

Historically, we have attributed both great and poor decision making to individuals - turning them into geniuses, heroes, or personified blunders. One of the primary characteristics of a great leader, especially in business, was their intuition - it was their Midas touch.

Fast forward to modern day as we ride the exponential incline of the information age and we have a very different landscape. Today, one out of every three employed professionals is a knowledge worker. A knowledge worker is someone who thinks for a living. Their primary value is their domain expertise and their ability to apply the information they have to problem solve and make decisions.

We are facing faster change and times of extreme uncertainty. In an information-rich, but insight-poor environment with more decision making happening at the fringes of the organization, unlocking the alignment and productivity of knowledge work will be the primary competitive advantage of the 21st century.

"The most important, and indeed the truly unique, contribution of management in the 20th century was the fifty-fold increase in the productivity of the manual worker in manufacturing. The most important contribution management needs to make in the 21st century is similarly to increase the productivity of knowledge work and the knowledge worker." - Peter Drucker

Welcome to the Uncertainty Project

The Uncertainty Project is an ever-changing set of principles, beliefs and curated tools to help teams make better decisions, faster.

The Project focuses on research-backed, peer-reviewed methods that aim to help teams and  organizations define, collaborate on, make, and communicate decisions. The tools found in this playbook are borrowed, built-upon, and curated from thought leaders, practitioners, and members of the community for any organizations looking to build a robust decision making architecture.

Why use the Uncertainty Project?

Decision making in most organizations is broken. Leaders struggle to be decisive, consensus is driving complacency, it's difficult to pull insights from information, and even after decisions are made there's little to no learning or accountability.

In the world of remote work where Gartner predicts over half of knowledge workers will no work from home, this is only getting worse. Collaboration is difficult and time in Zoom meetings is at an all-time high. This project is meant to explore:

  • Reducing the amount of time spent in wasteful meetings
  • Improving the collaborative experience around decision making
  • Moving faster through prioritization and delegation that makes urgency and impact clear
  • Being more inclusive by getting the right people involved early and often
  • Getting the right information faster to drive the right conversations
  • Improving overall sentiment in the decision making process and supporting discord
  • Who is the Uncertainty Project for?

    The Uncertainty Project is for leaders and managers motivated and responsible for deciding how to decide. For those that feel this description suits them, then this is for you.

    There are a few specific groups that this project targets in particular:

    Strategic Decision Makers

    Decision makers that are primarily focused on 'Big-bet' decisions like mergers and acquisitions or major strategic pivots.

    Cross-functional Leaders

    Decision makers that often impact other groups with their decisions. Product Managers, Marketers, and Engineering Managers would fall into this category.

    Program Managers

    The shepherds of the decision making process looking to bring people and information together to move things forward, get things unblocked, and report on progress against goals.

    Why do we believe this is important?

    We believe arming organizations with tools and frameworks for better decision making is a positive-sum game. Great decision making produces great products, positive work environments, and flourishing competition. Poor decision making is wasteful, expensive, creates toxicity, and ultimately kills companies.

    Over the past decades, decision science has brought better understanding to how both individuals and groups operate - the good, the bad, and the ugly. The application of this research has primarily surfaced in individual leadership and industries such as finance, venture capital, insurance, and healthcare where decisions are often repeatable and the stakes are high, but you would be hard-pressed to find these methods consistently used in technology companies.

    We believe the next cohort of high-performing organization will adopt these learnings in human behavior and combine them with powerful tools for data aggregation to become lightening fast, evidence-focused, decision making machines.

    And the rest will act on intuition.