Desember 15, 2011

More on Problem Definition

Apparently my If Matrix turns out to be a bit more controversial than I originally expected. These are some questions I received from readers and colleagues:

"Did you just put bureaucracy on such a simple problem definition?"
"Wouldn't you end up with the same thing if you focus on such an obvious thing as IT integration from the beginning?"
"Should we really create this matrix and put it in our problem definition report?"

The answer to all of the questions are: No, no, and no. Bureaucracy is the last thing in my mind when I conceptualized the simple matrix. If you look closer at the matrix, it is simply a quick tool to check whether we might jump too quickly on a path that might lead us to a wrong destination. So, this is not a requirement, and this is definitely not something that has to be in a report (unless you feel it is necessary to lay out all assumptions on paper).

And the purpose of this matrix is exactly to avoid thinking that something is obvious. Even if the solution is something obvious like integrating an IT system, framing the problem properly will lead us into developing a set of critical parameters on what the desired outcome of the project will be, and understanding where we should focus on. It will also allow us to have some flexibility on how we get to where we want. Just like when we want to go from City A to City B, if we insist that we should take Road X without understanding that the actual desire is City B, we will fail to see that there is another route via Road Y, which has less traffic than Road X, that can get us faster and safer to City B.

Have fun!

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