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In the solution space

November 20, 2020

Just finished listening to The Ripple Effect podcast, with Mike Barnes from Golfnow. It’s a great cast and I recommend giving it a listen!

I’m just going to pick up on one thread that Mike teased out; that of

“how do you identify which problems to work on”?

Mike started at one end of a spectrum; early in his time at Golfnow he was known as the “spreadsheet-killer”. The set of problems here is a collection of ways that are used as workarounds or short-term fixes, that get adopted as the “main branch” of your business processes. These are often defended quite passionately by the people running them!

An opposite set of problems is when someone presents the issue or problem as solution design or system they want to adopt. Better known as “a solution in search of a problem”. This approach shortcuts the first stage – requirements gathering – and proceeds directly to design. The issue here is that now it is difficult to tell if you are fulfilling the requirements at all.

There is a fruitful middle ground here, with identified or semi-identified issues, but no formal requirements or projects started.

This issue – finding the right thing to work on – requires some decent domain knowledge, and a left/right combo of business smarts and technical possibilities.

A couple of other gems:

Mike points out that, initially, going after low-hanging fruit (automation, standardizing processes) will give you quick wins.

Once the immediate is dealt with, you are left with the genuine hard problems – these are difficult to deal with, but offer much in the way of optimal path for your organisation, as well as satisfaction for yourself!

From → Systems thinking

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