Decision Making Under Uncertainty Essay


Explain Continuous Improvement and Total Quality Management process (PDCA Cycle) in detail including its philosophy and practices.



In this paper, decision making under uncertain conditions are defined and the impacts of the decision making under uncertainty. This report is all about the uncertainty in an engineering firm while developing a project. Sometimes, engineers have to take an early decision by uncertainty. The plan, check and act theory is also described in this report in details. PDCA is explained on the basis of philosophy and the practices.


Uncertainty is the most important factor for the decision making in engineering. In engineering, it is very hard to predict all the conditions. Some conditions are uncertain when a project is being developed. Most things can be certain. Only the condition which has happened in the past, those are certain but which yet not happened creates an uncertain condition. A complete project development life cycle is followed by engineers while developing a project.[1]

Uncertainty is the condition of the wrong output or the condition where an unpredictable outcome comes.

Continuous Improvement:

The abbreviation for the continuous improvement process is CIP. It is the way to improve the quality of the project or the service application. The continuous improvement process o improves the process and service under comes the continuous improvement process. There may be positive and negative, both type efforts. It is also helpful to increase the efficiency of the company [2].

Mostly, Meta process of continuous improvement is used for most management system such as for project management and quality management. Continuous improvement process is the way to manage the quality that follows the quality assurance method to manage the quality. Continuous quality improvement mostly focuses on the process more than the individuals. It is necessary to promote the needs for objective data to improve the process of the quality management. Continuous quality improvement is the strategy and the philosophy of management by using which various issues can be resolved. Improving quality indicates the increasing level of the customer satisfaction.[3]

It is helpful to achieve the success through meeting the requirements of those we serve. By using the scientific method, it is easy to sustain the continuous improvement making small changes through this process.

Total Quality Management process (PDCA Cycle):

Total quality management is the process to manage the quality of the product, service or any project application. Quality management is the step of the project development life cycle. Total quality management is carried out to improve the quality of services provided by a company. Total quality management is the term to describe the approach of the management long term success.[4]The customer satisfaction is the most important point to be taken. Total quality management is rational to the customer satisfaction. The total quality management can be improved only when all the staff or the employees of the company put their efforts to improve the quality o the product or the services. Total quality management involves the various processes such as improving the work environment, quality of the services and the products.[5]

Apart from this, some principles of the total quality management are given here.

Total quality management is the system of management to focus on the customer satisfaction. All the employees of a company have to work devotedly if they want a continuous improvement in the organization. There is a strategy that is used for the total quality management that is the effective communication among the employees to integrate the discipline of quality into all the activities and culture of the organization.[6] If the organization is the customer-focused then they can improve their product and services continuously because of the increasing expectation of the customer. The second principle is that all the employees should actively participate to achieve the goal of the company. If, all the employees will actively participate then the organization can move forward with a high degree of customer satisfaction.

The third principle of the total quality management is the process centered. It depends on the way of thinking of the employees and the management. To provide the best software, the engineers of the company should think about all the fact which may affect the results of the project. To take the input from the external or internal supplier and then transform that input to get a targeted output is a series of the step of a process. Total quality management is the horizontal process which interconnects all the functions. Micro process is one process of the TQM that is used.[7]

Micro process is used for the large process to develop an error free software. Strategy and systematic approaches are the two approaches which are very helpful to achieve the mission and goal of the company by achieving the targeted output of a project. According to the given details, it is clear that total quality management is the process of the continuous improvement by the use of PDCA cycle.


PDCA stand for the planning, do, check, Act. In the planning phase, the engineers decide what they will do in the project. In the development phase, the code of the project is developed, in check phase, the code will be reviewed whether it I right or not. In the last phase of PDCA that is acting, all the activities are defined that done in the do phase. This is a continuous process of improvement. In this, the process of the improvement never end.[8]

PDCA is somehow related to the spiral development approach which is used in various areas such as software development. It provides an effective and practical approach to solve the problems and to change the decision taken under uncertainty.

PDCA is also used in aerospace. It is also known as Deming cycle and Shewhart Cycle in practice. It is also important to find out all the factors which needs improvement and contributes a lot to improve the working environment and the quality of services of any organization.


There are five examples of the making an uncertain decision and PDCA given.

  1. Kenneth H. Olsen, then president of Digital Equipment Corporation, said that there is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home in 1977. The explosion was not inevitable in 1977 in the personal computer market. It was uncertain what industry experts were discussing at the time within the range of possibilities. The managers who were planning for that they suffered from uncertain decision paralysis. They avoid implementing critical strategy about the markets and product.[9]
  2. In Kaizen, continuous improvement takes places. There are continuous improvement activities maintained and improve all the function including the employee and the CEO. It is also applied to the logistics and purchasing process. It is also applied in the healthcare industry. It’s aim is to eliminate all the affecting factors by improving standardized activities.[10]
  3. In this example, uncertainty is relevant to take the decision, In airlines industry, the managers are trying to develop a new strategy to the entry of lees cost and no-frills competitors into the hub airport of this. To implement a strategic decision, the executives of airlines are not aware of that it will respond with a less cost service. The uncertain decision is taken for creating the strategy for the less cost entry into the hub of its airport.[11]
  4. This process is used in the electrical industry; there was an uncertainty to invest the capital on which type of fuel as gas or any other fuel. So, it was used to derive the uncertainty ranges of the prices in future of the fuel or for forecasting the prices.
  5. In this example, in U.S long-distance telephone providers in late 1995, the executive started to develop the strategies to enter the local telephone markets. In 1995, the legislation was pending in Congress that was fundamentally deregulated and board from those new regulations would clear to the industry observers. The outcome is discrete but it is unpredictable. But the legislation was going to pass or not and it would be implemented how quickly in the event it did pass were uncertain.


The PDCA process is very necessary for the improvement in the company. There is uncertainty in an engineering project. Sometimes, more than one result of a project is predicted at the time of development. It is difficult to predict which result will come. It is not easy to predict the final result of the project, so an uncertain condition exists. At the time of the development of the project, PDCA process can be used to make a certain result[12]. A continuous improvement process for any service and product can be achieved by using plan, development, check and act process.

The goal of the company can be achieved by using PDCA. In short we can say that, an uncertain decision making can occur at the time of development of any project, because to predict future is very uncertain. So, by using the PDCA process in the engineering project, the product and services can be improved which is very helpful to achieve the goal of the company. Engineers need to research the market and then they should use the PDCA cycle to improve the project and make that flexible and efficient.



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