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Why and How Is The Decision Making Process Vital?

March 7, 2014 - 7:30am -- goldlilys
Why and How Is The Decision Making Process Vital?

"We all make choices, but in the end our choices make us." - Ken Levine

Whether we like it or not, every decision we make affects the outcome of our life. Why? The choices that we did not take become the "what could have happened" instead of "what did happen". What are decisions?

Decision is "a choice that we make about something after thinking about it". The decision making process is different for everyone. Some people rely on logical reasoning; some people rely based solely on emotions that can either be rational or irrational. There are some who choose not to make a decision and just let things happen naturally. Either way, a choice is made.

Relative to computer science, there is a concept called Trees which are similar to Decision Trees that support decision making. A tree in data structures is an abstract data type (ADT) defined as "a mathematical model of the data objects that make up a data type as well as the functions that operate on those objects." Each tree consists of nodes with a root/parent value and its subtrees/children.

The condition for the subtrees is that none of them are duplicates and none of them point to the root. A node may contain a value or condition where each node may have zero or more child nodes. A node with a child is called the child’s parent or superior node. Therefore, a node has at most one parent. Internal nodes are nodes with at least one child while leaf nodes are nodes with no child.

In terms of a decision tree, it is a model of possible conditions and event outcomes from the choices that may take place. Decision nodes are represented by squares, chance nodes (options) are circles and leaf nodes are triangles. Each chance node uses the conditional probability theory that accounts for the likelihood (in percentage) of a particular event to happen when another event has occurred. But coming from the child not having a pointer to a parent condition, this means when a decision is made, you cannot go back in the past. The question then becomes if event A happens, do you want event B or C to happen?

Decision Making For Web Development

This type of decision making process occurs a lot when deciding how to code the flow of a website and problem solving in general. Every feature a website has requires an algorithm or a pseudo code where it shows a step-by-step procedure for calculating what happens when a call to action button is clicked. It usually fires off multiple actions in the background that happens instantaneously with the user only seeing the end-result.

For instance, when logging in to a website, a user simply inputs their username and password. The result might be a message that says "congratulations, you are logged in" or it redirects them to their profile. But the background is doing a lot more than what users normally think. Once a user submits their username and password, first there are front-end checks (may be written in a Javascript library like jQuery to do event handling) to make sure that the username or password follows the conditions (chances) required by the website.

Such rules might be minimum characters, lowercase or uppercase, etc. or just even filling it in and not leaving it blank. If at least one of those conditions does not pass, they are presented an error message to reenter those fields. If a user keeps typing those fields wrong, sometimes there is a maximum number of chances given or else the user cannot log in for a certain amount of time and gets blocked from the website. This is done for security purposes to prevent bad users from hacking into someone else’s account.

When the front-end conditions do pass, it is now time to compare those data in the back-end database. The back-end checks whether the username exists in the first place. If it does, does the password match the username? When it passes both username and password, depending on the profile choices made when the user registered, they get taken back to the previous page or their profile. All the different actions and events that happen on a website are coded to provide feedback for every decision a user makes.

In other words, nothing is really automated because everything is manually coded by a programmer or web developer who must figure out the many nodes that takes place in the decision tree. The web developer must be able to think ahead and know the different options a user can choose from, either positive or negative, and provide the proper feedback so the user will eventually make the right decisions and input their correct username and password.

Decision Making For Business

Decisions are especially important when it comes to making choices for a business. Business owners must be able to think ahead and figure out the different options that can take place when one decision is made. I believe that options are a good thing for businesses because if the first choice does not work out, then there is another option to try.

The best decision making process comes with balance. This means have options, but not too many options that you spread yourself too thin. Why? Because of all those different options, you have to be able to think ahead and plan accordingly.

But how can you plan accordingly if you have to do that for too many options? That will only get complicated and too much planning can also prevent things from happening in reality. What kind of decision making process do you use?

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