Delphi is a great method to decompose tasks and develop task hierarchies. It offers specialized forecasting process that involves interactions between groups of people who are experts on the problem of task decomposition. These people are divided into independent expert groups. They provide expert knowledge and expertise to analyze the problem and develop solutions and recommendations. The central idea here is that expert groups work independently on each other and that each separate group generates a unique package of decomposition solutions. Competence and accuracy are two main principles of the Delphi method.
Delphi allows obtaining the opinion of an expert group regarding best practices of task planning and decomposition. The key advantage of the Delphi method is that it provides competence and accuracy in estimating and forecasting tasks. The method assumes that a concerned group of experts shares a certain knowledge base and accepts certain identifiable characteristics for reaching task decomposition.
The method offers the following steps:
- Select people (up to 10-12 individuals) who will take part in the task decomposition process
- Divide these people into expert groups (up to 3-4 members per group)
- Identify a task to be decomposed
- Make a detailed description of the task (Goals, Duration, Budget, Performance Criteria, other parameters)
- Share the task description among expert groups
- Ask experts to start working on decomposing the task (every expert group begins to hold internal discussions about possible ways of decomposition)
- Receive suggestions and recommendations of experts as they complete their discussions
- Review suggestions and recommendations and figure out if one more round of discussion is required
- Receive confirmation about decomposition solutions from individual expert groups
- Share these solutions between all expert groups who must approve or disapprove efficiency of every solution provided
- Iterate group discussions until all experts agree on the most efficient and appropriate decomposition solutions applicable to the task.