Be an Effective Decision Maker with just 3 questions...

The final tool in our #criticalcoreskills decision making tool post, the interesting aspect of this tool is something worth looking into...it is more than just pros and cons , it is more than just black or white, there is always a grey in between.

This tool (PMI : Plus Minus Interesting) was developed by Dr. Edward de Bono, is a brainstorming technique for gathering feedback on an idea, concept, or when a team takes a retrospective look at a recently completed set of work.



The desired outcome of this tool is to discover both sides of an argument and think more broadly about an issue. The main problem that Dr. de Bono felt with traditional thinking is that people focus their attention on how to back up an opinion that has already been formed. This does not become useful to determine the risk aspects of the decision.


“Many highly intelligent people are caught in the intelligence trap: they take a position on a subject and then they use their thinking skill solely to support that position.
The more able they are to support the position, the less do they see any need actually to explore the subject: so they become trapped into one point of view.

The PMI tool provides benefits as listed below :

• see both sides of an argument • view things from a different point of view • think broadly about an issue • suspend judgement • make informed decisions • work as individuals, in pairs or as members of a group.



So what are the 3 questions to get started?

The beauty of this tool is its simplicity to utilize.


Individually, in pairs or small groups, apply three questions to your decision or choice

What are the positive ideas about this?
What are the negative ideas about this?
What is interesting about this?

Using a project perspective, the questions could be modified


What are the positive things about this iteration? What are the negative (minus) things about this iteration? What was interesting about this iteration?



After applying the 3 questions , it is important to score the individual items under each of the categories (P, M and I). Using a range of (-10) to +10 with level of importance with (-10) being not important at all and 10 being highest importance, score each element and collate the sub total.The sub total for P will be in positive (+) , M will be in negative (-) and I can be negative or positive (+/-). Sum up the sub total to derive the total score to determine if the decision is worth venturing into.


To provide more support, most people may have some concern with the interesting portion, here are a list of collated questions that you could ask :

  • What questions does the idea raise?

  • Who will execute the idea?

  • How much will it cost?

  • What legislation do we need to keep in mind?

  • What material do we use?


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