Army Problem Solving Steps
Equally important is the conceptual exercise of making sure the team is considering all aspects of the problem and potential solution space. The d.school concept of “Yes, and…” is extremely applicable in this step.We want to add components, aspects and perspectives on the problem and solution space in this step.Mc Kinsey’s model does not rely on great expertise.Mc Kinsey generally hires generalists with good problem solving intrinsics and arms them with methodologies, knowledge, structures and networks of experts to go out and assist companies on their strategic opportunities and issues.Mc Kinsey is consistently ranked as one of the top companies to work for by ivy league business school students.Mc Kinsey has developed and generated a wealth of well known concepts and frameworks over the years.
Mc Kinsey assists organisations like Fortune 500’s in solving really complex strategic problems.Using the right judgement and “quick and dirty” analytics, we can significantly increase the existence of a cat in the first tree we bark up. Some things we will want to understand in great detail.Employing the right levels of judgement and experience can help us develop hypotheses and prioritise the aspects of the problem that we get the team to analyse first – to speed up the process and identify high-impact quick-wins. Eisenhower is often attributed to Napoleon (with whom I share both a personality type and height challenge). Some things we only want to spend a little time on to inform the solution.However, it is an important fundamental philosophy of this step in the process and every effort should be made to be as MECE as possible. Time is money – especially when we are dealing with strategic opportunities and threats! Yes, each approach has a different resulting angle on the problem and level of accuracy.Prioritising which trees the team is going to bark up, who is doing the barking and how they are going to bark is critical to an efficient problem solving process and resource leverage. If we happen to bark up the wrong tree and don’t find any cats, we can come back to this step with those learnings and select another tree to bark up (with a more educated opinion). However, if expert opinions would be good enough to tick off a hypothesis, I would rather have the debate and determine whether significant resources in people and money goes into a comprehensive consumer assessment before my marketing launches off into the sunset and wastes said time and resources.Before I go into the individual steps, it is important to remember that this process is iterative.The 7 steps are a structured way to diverge and converge in the problem solving process.The little “COMMUNICATIONS” ribbon in the diagram reinforces this.Make sure you have the right people on the team to bring sufficient knowledge, discipline, structure and creativity to the problem solving process – then use the right tools to help the team work together effectively!As you explore different and new areas of the problem, analyse more (step 5) and generate more insights (step 6 and 7), you refine your thinking and may find other better ways to structure the problem and new areas to analyse.There is no right or wrong way to apply the steps or the tools.