Managing projects & making decisions under uncertainty


in a cross-cultural environment



By Gauranga Deka

Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas, USA


In November 2013, a reputed investment company on the east coast was in a difficult situation with several large clients’ rebid at stake. The project team were in the process of building the next generation data warehouse & reporting platform. Unfortunately, it became clear that the MVP[1] delivery was unlikely in 2014 as planned. The company’s reputation was at stake. Something had to be done. But what could be that “something”? Effective immediately, management asked the project team to stop all activities for 6 weeks. Within days, they formed a task force that included all stakeholders. Six weeks was the time given.

A working group was formed, initiated intense brainstorming sessions, the team was asked to analyze, invent alternative options & suggest recommendations as soon as practically feasible. After causal analysis, the group identified that the primary issues were around oversimplification in identifying dependencies, issues with forecasting/estimation, improper sequencing & invisible queuing of work products. Within weeks, a set of empirical tools developed for impact analysis as well as estimating the remaining work. Created new delivery base line, identified sequencing bottlenecks & node points. Though not eliminated, using available tools at disposal, the queuing in the systems was monitored/managed. Also, for the first time, scaled agile/lean concept was introduced incrementally.

Finally, by November 2016, when the final version of the product was rolled out to the entire client base, the project officially ended thus marking the success of this complex initiative.


The Retirement Services (e.g., 401k) industry in US is a big business.  In 2021, an estimated 102.6 million individual investors owned mutual funds, and at year-end, these investors held 88 percent of total mutual fund assets directly or through retirement accounts. Total US retirement assets were $33.6 trillion as of December 31, 2022[2]. One of the largest providers of 401(k) services was in a legally binding commitment with a high value institutional client to build the next generation data warehouse & the reporting platform. Business case had been approved with multiyear funding plan. A substantial number of resources were invested for several months to choose the appropriate technology stacks.


To read entire paper, click here

Editor’s note: Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English.  Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright.  This paper was originally presented at the 15th UT Dallas PM Symposium in May 2023.  It is republished here with the permission of the author and conference organizers.

How to cite this paper: Deka, G. (2024, 2023). Managing projects & making decisions under uncertainty in a cross-cultural environment; presented at the 15th University of Texas at Dallas Project Management Symposium in Richardson, TX, USA in May 2023; republished in the PM World Journal, Vol. XIII, Issue III, March 2024. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/pmwj139-Mar2024-Deka-managing-projects-under-uncertainty-2nd-ed.pdf

About the Author

Gauranga Deka

Dallas-Fort Worth, TX USA


Gauranga Deka, PMP, PMI-ACP, SAFe SPC4 is an IT Project Manager with sustained expertise in building complex software solutions. Currently, he is a member of Project Management Institute & PMI Dallas Chapter. In last 20+ years, he has been leading critical roles in the development of very large, complex, mission critical software products in Banking/Financial Services Domain. He is well versed in software size & effort estimation, forecasting, Agile, Scaled Agile framework (SAFe) & Water fall model of software development process. He has authored & published scholarly articles on software project management topics. He regularly reviews articles as well as books on the project management area, some of which are published on PM World Journals periodically. Mr. Deka, as a mentor, guides young project managers/agile practitioners in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metropolitan Area & also participates on expert panel to discuss important topics that influence contemporary project management processes in the PM Symposium at the University of Texas at Dallas TX.

Gauranga Deka received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from MANIT, Bhopal and Executive MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, India.

Email address: G_deka@yahoo.com or https://www.linkedin.com/in/gaurangadeka

[1] MVP – Minimal Viable Producthttps://www.linkedin.com/in/gaurangadeka
[2] https://www.ici.org/statistical-report/ret_22_q4