Thursday, December 10, 2009

Solution Strategies for Solving Systemic Issues

I have a long held belief that any solution is only as good as the buy-in of the team. A weakly supported outcome is really not a resolution at all. For successful fixes, that hold the test of time, it is essential that the team affected be part of the process. I suggest also including those who will be least desirable to involve, as they will bring a healthy balance to the problem along with some valuable debate.

Migrating from problem to solution - when considering solving a pesky and well known project execution obstacle, what avenues for resolution should be considered? Below you will find my most successful approaches.

This is an old tried and true method that is a good way to get options on the table. It works well, assuming a facilitator well versed in the brainstorming process. Don't get bogged down with tools for this, good old sticky notes (large) work great to capture and organize concepts.

This one is not used very often, although it frequently provides some fascinating insight into the issue and possible solutions. The facilitator must be prepared with well thought out questions that target uncovering root cause and ideas for fixes. The environment for the one on one discussion must be one that ensures any barriers to open discussion are minimized.

Outside Assistance
Consider having someone knowledgeable from outside the organization participate in the resolution process to bring a fresh perspective. Often, being too close to the problem stymies the big picture view that can bring unforeseen solutions to the table.

My short rule for successful solutions to nagging issues: Inclusion over exclusion of people, broad functional area participation and an open atmosphere that focuses on the solutions, not bemoaning the problem.

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