Issue-Based Problem Solving

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Issue-Based Problem-Solving: Antidote to Mental Messing Around

Copyright © 2008 Accenture All Rights Reserved. Accenture, its logo, and High Performance Delivered are trademarks of Accenture.

This guest lecture will focus on…

– Issue-based problem solving – a must-have skill in management – Some ways you can use Issue-based problem solving effectively – How to address the right problems as efficiently as possible

Copyright © 2008 Accenture All Rights Reserved.

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This will going to be a long season…

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Effectiveness means…

– Understanding and articulating the client problem that the project will solve – Thinking creatively about innovative, value-adding ways to solve the client problem – Decomposing the problem into key issues to analyze and hypotheses to test

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This approach to solving client problems emphasizes attention to the issues involved

Where the client is

Define the problem

Solve the problem

Communicate the answer

Where the client wants to be

Structure the ideas

Generate ideas

Develop the research plan

Analyze findings
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Issue-based problem-solving is intended to clarify and simplify the problem-solving process Actual Problem-Solving
100%
Progress Review Progress Review Progress Review Final Review Implementation Team Orientation

Preliminary Fact Finding

Confidence in Recommendations

In-Depth Analysis

Syndication of Conclusions Solution Development/ Testing

Focus Groups/Surveys

0% Planning
Issues/Analysis/Conclusions

Delivering
Issues/Analysis/Solutions

Operating
Issues/Analysis/Results

Managing
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Be sure to address the right problem

– Review client problem definition – Check if it is a symptom or a problem is real, but less urgent – Common problem definition pitfalls – Involve client in preparing the problem definition worksheet – Review completed worksheet with client before beginning any analyses

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The first step is to define the problem that will focus and set boundaries for the client engagement Problem Definition Worksheet Client:
C O N T E X T Key Facts: Relevant information about the client’s situation

Need for Change: Why the client needs to change now—implications, burning platforms, etc.

Key Question: The business question to answer B U Y E R S Sponsors: Who brought us (Accenture) in Key Decision Makers: Who will resolve critical issues

Criteria for Quality: The client’s criteria for a quality product or result

S C O P E

Desired Outcomes: What the client would like to have at the end of the project In Scope: Deliverables, target dates, and issues

Out of Scope: Issues, effort beyond project boundaries

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Guidelines to help make brainstorming effective

– Encourage creative, even absurd ideas. Generating creative ideas from obvious ideas is almost impossible – To move to the other end of the spectrum, short brainstorming exercises on an unrelated subject help, like name 20 birds – Aim for quantity, not quality. The goal is to generate as many ideas as possible, quickly – Often setting a goal –- say, 20 ideas in 15 minutes –- can help. Clustering ideas helps seeing new possibilities Copyright © 2008 Accenture All Rights Reserved. 12

Finding creative solutions to a problem often begins with brainstorming seemingly absurd ideas

Value of Ideas

Creative

Obvious

Absurd

Difficulty of Implementation

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Decomposition of the key question into its component issues is the essence of issue mapping

– Critical, and usually time-consuming, step of issue-based problemsolving – Decomposes the overall problem...
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