Consulting Methodology

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Structured Thinking
Manager and Consultant Approach
Manager Approach
Ask what the problem is. How do I solve it? What is needed to solve it? Do the results seem viable and reasonable?

Consultant Approach
Quickly understanding problems, gathering relevant data, and synthesizing insightful results

The Minto Pyramid Principle
A set of rules that helps create groups in a way that is logical and structured. Groups help you communicate easily to others. Process that identifies issues, designs research, analysis, and communication Way of sorting data to compartmentalize complex details and organize info Only effective if you have a clear idea of what the issue or question is. Ideas should be top-down, with lower levels supporting upper levels. Avoid more than 3 categories (hard to remember). Sub-ideas = grouped as well. Consulting Process and Context

Problem Definition
Key issues are developed using a Situation-Complication-Question (SCQ) analysis The key issue is the client’s most pressing need.
A situation statement is a non-controversial description of stable conditions. A complication statement is what altered the stable situation and created the problem. The key question is the question implicitly raised by the complication statements.

Step 1: Ask Probing Questions
Get to the essence of the issue. Ask “Why?” and look for effects that may be masquerading as causes. Causal relationships can be very difficult to decipher. Take note of body language and subtext. Find evidence and document all of the answers. Step 2: Sort and Group Info

Use the Pyramid Principle to join ideas. Start by grouping similar ideas. Then, summarize each group with a heading sentence. Sort each heading sentence into situation, complication, or question. Repeat these steps with all of the data.

Step 3: Determine Key Objective
There is only one key question.
From the SCQ, determine the key question. It should be the natural question that is a logical progression from each of the complications. The overarching issue Framing the Key Question
Can be as important as determining the question itself
The form is dependent on what types of complications exist. Different frames will provide a different “lens” for the question. After determining the type, restate in a closed format; answered with YES or NO. Refrain from positioning one solution over another, unless complications explicitly require it. Make sure the question is broad enough (neither too specific nor too in-depth) to cover all of the relevant and related sub-questions

Approach
Issue Analysis
Uses the Minto Pyramid Principle, which structures idea. Issues Analysis structures the analysis of a problem using questions. Issues Analysis is used to structure the questions that must be addressed to answer the key question. Step 1: Identify All Sub-Questions

What other information is required to answer the key question. Use the closed question format and be stated in a positive-yes format. Step 2: Sort and Group Questions
Use the Pyramid Principle to help connect questions.
Step 3: Build the Issues Tree
Reflect what your brain has already done and the work you’ve already completed. To begin, put the key question at the top of the tree. Underneath the key question, write down each of the heading questions at the same level. For each of the heading questions, add sub-questions at the next level. No need to have more than four levels of questions.

Step 4: Test for MECE
* There are 2 qualifications. ME = Mutually Exclusive and means questions are not similar to each other. CE = Collectively Exhaustive means you have covered all important questions and is comprehensive. Step 5: List Tasks for Getting Evidence

Identifying the tasks that need to be completed to answer the sub-questions. At the lowest level of each part of the Issues Tree, determine what needs to be done to answer the lowest level question. If all of the lowest level questions can...
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