April 25, 2013 2 Comments
The purpose of this topic is to help a group focus its discussion when there are many symptoms, causes, preventions, and cures that should be considered; likely against an array of multiple agents or actors who need to act upon a new plan or process.
Meetings waste much time because they lack structure, not because they fail to generate some good ideas. The problem with most meetings is that the group of participants do not know if they “got it all”, how they can measure their progress, and how much work remains to be done.
This approach can be modified, but embraces the second step of Brainstorming called Analysis. With a complex problem, consider the following:
- Confirm the purpose of the solution state or the ideal condition. Describe the way things ought be when there is no problem and everything is working properly according to design.
- Fully define the problem state or condition, building consensus around the way things are at present.
- Identify all the potential symptoms that make it easy to characterize the problem or issue. Consider symptoms to be “externally identifiable factors” that can be seen and observed objectively, such as “tardiness.”
- For each symptom identify all possible causes (or consider Root Cause Analysis [aka RCA] or the Ishikawa Diagram).
- Identify the people, agents, or actors that will participate in the solution or plan (eg, participants, management, contractors, etc.).
- Populate a matrix with the agents against a timeline as shown below. The simplest way to approach the x dimension is to separately cover the before and after phases (such as what can be done to prevent each cause and what can be done to cure for each cause by each agent).
- With group at large or using sub-teams with assigned areas, develop all potential responses or actions with every agent across the timeline (see below).
Become Part of the Solution, Improve Your Facilitation Skills
The FAST curriculum on Professional Facilitation Skills details the responsibilities and dynamics mentioned above. Remember friends, nobody is smarter than everybody, so consult your FAST Facilitator Reference Manual or attend a FAST professional facilitative leadership training workshop offered around the world (see MG Rush for a current schedule — an excellent way to earn 40 PDUs from PMI, CDUs from IIBA, or CEUs).
Daring you to embrace the will, wisdom, and activities that amplify a facilitative leader.
- A “Plan” May Be Defined as “Who Does What (and When)” and Answers 10 Questions (facilitativeleadership.wordpress.com)
- 8 Meeting Purposes: What Task(s) Are You Asking Your Group To Accomplish? (facilitativeleadership.wordpress.com)
- Root causeanalysis1 (slideshare.net)