In our previous blog, we discussed the importance of problem prioritization. Today I want to share with you one of the two components of prioritization—qualitative questions to ask to determine the most valuable problems to solve.
Once you’ve identified all your problems in your operations, from presales to post-sales, you will now ask these three questions for each problem at each task. All questions can be answered by YES or No.
1st Question: Can this problem be solved within 30 days?
An organization I’ve been working with that does custom software development has to staff enormous projects that go on for years. They have some complicated problems to solve with staffing. There’s no way that the issue can be solved within 30 days, so they deliberately said NO.
Sometimes, we can break out a problem if it’s too big to solve within 30 days. Some improvement can be made in 30 days. The question does not require you to solve the problem completely. For instance, you might not be able to automate a system within 30 days, but you can document and streamline it.
2nd Question: Is solving the problem in line with brand values?
This question is a catch-all. Is there any chance that solving this problem is not in line with your values? It could be solving a problem around lead generation, and you are going to hire a third-party lead gen company to solve it. But is that in line with your values of customer care and integrity?
This question is important to ask because if you start solving something that’s not aligned with your values, you can go in a direction that is very detrimental to the company. Most of the time, the answer to this question is a YES. But you can’t miss out on asking this because it’s an important and valuable catch if the answer is a NO.
3rd Question: Can this be solved with minimum financial investment?
We would always say at Toyota that you can solve process problems forever without spending any money. You can go a very long time improving your processes without spending a dime. This does not include human resources or manpower. What is meant by not spending money is not paying for new software, hiring a consultant, or making various financial investments.
Don’t solve a problem unless you get three YES answers
All answers to these qualitative questions must be a YES to be included in any Go Live with my clients. We solve for things that don’t cost money, can be done in 30 days, and are in line with brand values for as long as possible.
If any of the qualitative answers is a NO, just do not include it. Do not include it unless you can break it out and make it simpler. Do not include it because it’ll take you forever. If it’s too complex, you’ll become demoralized, you’ll fail and then you won’t want to try again.
Asking these three qualitative questions is the first way to prioritize problems.
Stay tuned for next week’s blog. I’ll be sharing with you the other component of problem prioritization—the five qualitative questions to ask to help you zoom in on the problems that matter most and drive the most ROI.
In love and respect,