Once we detail our problem using the five introductory steps from my prior post or some other method, questioning these details begins. Again, we can visualize zooming to take a closer picture or using binoculars to get a closer look. Just as these illuminate details creating a different perspective, this process does the same. Seeing things from a different perspective is critical to problem solving.
Here are questions we can apply to our definitions, factors and processes. The steps mentioned in them reference my prior post outlining five steps detailing a problem:
- What difficulties were there in documenting the problem; how can you overcome them if you haven’t already?
- What aspects of the problem don’t seem to be problems or aren’t included in the problem you documented?
- If the problem suddenly went away, how would you know; what would cause it to do so?
- How can you improve the definitions in Step #2 to make the problem easier to understand or better defined?
- Why do the factors in Step #3 influence the problem or the conditions, schedules, resources and people connected to it; how can you influence them positively?
- Why are the conditions, schedules, resources and people in Step #3 important to the problem or to the business (i.e. what if they weren’t there)?
- What process improvements, deletions or additions can you make in Step #4 regardless of whether you think they would solve the problem?
Of course, many other questions exist. This list though can stimulate others. While this process might seem onerous, so does starting any exercise program. With practice it becomes easier and virtually automatic. Moreover, in our haste to meet time constraints, we make decisions that only compound our problems and steal our time later.
So, when is your brain’s exercise program beginning?