Mastering Project Discovery

Successful Discipline in Analytics and Engineering Projects

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Ovierview: Getting the most out of an engineering or analytics project requires the thoughtful coordination of specifically targeted solution tactics. However, generating optimal returns from this process also, and more fundamentally, presumes that the right problem has been targeted. How do we increase the chances of getting that right, and of advancing on practical solutions to address the right problems? How do we do this while also allowing ourselves the opportunity to step back, and (perhaps fundamentally) redefining the problem, when we reach diminishing or even negative returns on our investment of time and resources? The primary aim of this book is to provide an integrated, comprehensive framework and structured process to help manage, advance and optimize engineering and analytics projects – what we call the OUtCoMES Cycle. We motivate and provide practical anchorage of the Cycle using a series of exercises and real-world case examples, highlighting the importance of key principles and organizational architecture. For color, we include related historical and literary references, and provide closure to each chapter in the form of a ‘practitioner’s recap’. The collaboration between established academic scholars, analysts and engineers at Amazon makes for a ground-breaking and culture-shifting practical reference and guide for students, practitioners and academic scholars alike. The book both offers direction for building deep understanding of how to repeatedly identify and address the right problem within project contexts, as well as practical resources to help readers master this process.  ISBN: Paperback 978-1032548197   eBook 978-1003427650 
Contents: Introduction: What’s the Problem? Section I - Virtuosity. Chapter 1: The Value of Structure and Alternatives. Chapter 2: Picking the Right Problems. Chapter 3: The Shape of Causes and Correlates. Chapter 4: Systematic Mental and Analytical Models. Section II - Orchestration. Chapter 5: Synergies in Numerical and Visual Tactics. Chapter 6: Leading Discovery in Projects and Programs. Chapter 7: Organizational Memory and Learning. Conclusion: Discovery Mastered. Glossary of Key Terms. References. Appendices. Index 

Download Advanced Copy of Pre-Published Introduction and Chapter 1

Sample Syllabus for Master-level Analytics Course

Ordering Options


The OUtCoMES Cycle

Process: The OUtCoMES Cycle aligns with other existing project management and design thinking tactics, but with a very particular focus - the synergy between structure and alternatives in the discovery and advancement of opportunities for maximal impact. Accordingly, we emphasize front-end option evaluation and option consideration to prioritize project Objectives, the levers available in their pursuit (Utilities), the range of Connections relevant to local reference systems, all in advance of Manifesting systematic models, Explicating intelligence from these models and further Scrutinizing applicability.

System Oriented A3 (S-A3)

Frameworks: Supporting that process are a set of documentation frameworks, the most notable of which is the Systems Oriented A3 (or S-A3). The S-A3 represents augmentations to traditional A3 frameworks, with, again, an interest in emphasizing a structured approach to outlining what teams know about the context, what possible Objectives might be targeted for improvement, which Utilities might be leverageable towards pursuing those objectives, and the various forms Connections that define project systems. Critically, an emphasis is placed on giving explicit, data-driven form to each of this, accounting for relationships that are expected to involve otherwise easily overlooked non-linearity, constraints, risk, lags and feedback mechanisms. The S-A3 forces prioritization of details but encourages both visual and tabular details. (PPT download available)


Elliot Bendoly, PhD

Professor Operations Mgmt

The Ohio State University 

Daniel G. Bachrach, PhD

Professor of Management

University of Alabama 

Kathy Koontz

Principal Analytic Platform Strategy at AWS

Porter Schermerhorn

Principal Software Engineer at 

Chp 1's Packing / Prioritizing Game

For use with the Chapter 1 Activity and Discussion. Recommended rectangular paper-printed frame size for item placement / packing provided on downloadable PDF >>

Chp 2's Objective Brainstorming

For use with the Chapter 2 Activity and Discussion. On the left is a Word Doc version that can be freely downloaded. A Qualtrics survey is also available (please contact Professor Bendoly if you are interested in using that survey for data collection and training)

Supporting Resources

Relative Impact (RI-) Fishbone Developer

Analytical Decision Tree (In collaboration with IIA)

Supporting Resources

Ordering & Related Texts

 Management Visual Analytics

Excel Blackbelt DSS Design

Handbook of Behavioral Ops

Enterprise Systems

Canyon Leaping Collaboration

Mike Clayton & thoughts on Project Discovery