User-Friendly Decision Tools

April, 2023
IDA document: D-33479
FFRDC: Systems and Analyses Center
Type: Documents
Division: Information Technology and Systems Division
Clifford M. Bridges See more authors
Personal experience and anecdotal evidence suggest that presenting analyses to sponsors, especially technical sponsors, is improved by helping the sponsor understand how results were derived. Providing summaries of analytic results is necessary but can be insufficient when the end goal is to help sponsors make firm decisions. When time permits, engaging sponsors with walk-throughs of how results may change given different inputs is particularly salient in helping sponsors make decisions in the context of the bigger picture. Data visualizations and interactive software are common examples of what we call “decision tools” that can walk sponsors through varying inputs and views of the analysis. Given long-term engagement and regular communication with a sponsor, developing user-friendly decision tools is a helpful practice to support sponsors. This talk presents a methodology for building decision tools that combines leading practices in agile development and STEM education. We use a Python-based app development tool called Streamlit to show implementations of this methodology.