Visualizations are increasingly used to display data for project portfolio decision making. Such decisions support the delivery of organizational strategy and aim to enhance the overall outcome from project investments. While some studies show that visualizations help data interpretation, others suggest they might bias decisions. To better understand whether and how visualizations affect project portfolio decisions, we develop and test a conceptual model that emphasizes the role of the decision maker in interpreting and using visual data. Using a dual-informant sample of 138 firms, we show a positive relationship between decision makers’ use of visualizations and project portfolio success that is mediated by decision-making success. We draw upon theories of cognitive fit and cognitive load to explain how the relationship between the use of visualizations and decision-making success is influenced by both the decision maker's tendency to use heuristics and their familiarity with visualizations.
- Project portfolio management
- Decision making