Process Decision Program Chart

Process Decision Program Chart

A Process Decision Program Chart (PDPC) is a tool for identifying and documenting the steps required to complete a process or project. It is intended to help prepare contingency plans by mapping out every conceivable event that can occur when moving from a problem to possible solutions.

This technique allows you to systematically identify what might go wrong with a plan, so you can create appropriate contingency plans to limit risks.



About Process Decision Program Charts (PDPC)

A Process Decision Program Chart (PDPC) is a graphical tool designed to help prepare contingency plans for a project or process. It provides a structured and systematic means of finding errors with a plan while it is being created. This tool identifies plan activities and asks “what-if” questions to uncover potential problem areas. Once potential issues are found, countermeasures can be developed for any problems that might occur.

Process Decision Program Charts are used to;

  1. outline the steps involved in completing a process or project,
  2. anticipate any problems that might arise in each step, and
  3. map out appropriate contingency plans to limit risks.



Creating a Process Decision Program Chart

The first step in creating a PDPC is to break down tasks using a tree diagram. The tree diagram will be extended to create a PDPC.

A PDPC is added to the bottom level tasks on a tree diagram. It simply extends the chart a couple of levels to identify risks and countermeasures. Different shaped boxes (cloud shaped) are used to highlight the risks and countermeasures.



Steps to Create a Process Decision Program Chart

Develop a Tree Diagram for a Proposed Process or Plan

  • Write a statement of the goal or project objective on the first level
  • Write the main activities on the second level
  • List the associated tasks needed to accomplish the main activities on the third level
  • Ensure that all activities and tasks have been considered


Brainstorm What Could Go Wrong

  • For each bottom-level task, identify possible problems that could occur while performing those tasks.
  • For each task, ask “what-if” questions
  • List possible problems that could occur
  • Review the list of potential problems and eliminate the ones that are improbable or whose consequences would be insignificant.

Add Potential Problems to the Tree Diagram

  • Select the possible problems based on a combination of probability of the risk occurring and the potential impact should the problem occur.
  • Connect the remaining potential problems to the Tree Diagram as a fourth level linked to the tasks. These are represented as “what-if” items.


Identify Countermeasures

  • For each “what-if” question (potential problem), identify possible countermeasures that you could take to minimize the effect of the risk.
  • Put the countermeasures as a fifth level, outlined in clouds
  • Connect countermeasures to the tasks to complete the chart.


Evaluate Each Countermeasure

  • Review each countermeasure to decide how practical each one is. Consider how easily it can be implemented, its cost, time required, and effectiveness.
  • Designate practical and effective countermeasures with “0”, and impractical and difficult countermeasures with “X.”





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