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Consulting toolkit structuring the problem Presentation Transcript

  • 1. CONSULTING TOOLKIT Setting up the Problem Solving Structuring the Problem© 2007-2012 IESIES Development Ltd. All Ltd. Reserved © 2007-2012 Development Rights All Rights Reserved
  • 2. Most important questions are too broad to analyse “How can we achieve world peace?” © 2007-2012 IES Development Ltd. All Rights Reserved
  • 3. An issue tree is a useful tool to break down problems into chunks small enough to manageIssue TreeStarts with aproblem anddecomposes it Use at the start of problem solving to structure a fuzzy problem © 2007-2012 IES Development Ltd. All Rights Reserved
  • 4. An issue tree has three purposes1) Break a problem down to small enough chunks to enable analysis to answer the smaller questions2) Open up the solution space to help you see new angles to the problem3) Get everyone up to speed quickly on the problem © 2007-2012 IES Development Ltd. All Rights Reserved
  • 5. To create an issue tree, you break down a question into smaller questions that are independent and complete How you can achieve Sub Issue 1a this? Continue breaking down issues Issue 1 Sub Issue 1b until you have one small enough to analyse Sub Issue 1c Break it down into components Sub Issue 2.a.i Sub Issue 2a Sub Issue 2.a.ii Sub Issue 2.a.iii Open Question Issue 2 Sub Issue 2bBig Open Sub Issue 2cQuestion:What or How…..? Sub Issue 3a Issue 3 Sub Issue 3b Sub Issue 3c Branches must be INDEPENDENT and COMPLETE MECE (Mutually Exclusive, Collectively Exhaustive) Reserved © 2007-2012 IES Development Ltd. All Rights
  • 6. You are finished when you have questions small enough that you can imagine analyses that would answer them Issue Tree for “How do I get a good final grade ethically?” Team Team Improve exam technique selection grades Grades for a Research prior exams How do I get a good specific team final grade on the Pay attention in class courses I select? Exams/tests Do reading Class participation Individual Create study group grades Peers Revise at last minuteHow do I get a Projectsgood final gradeethically? Assignments Pick courses that are Don’t take exemptions easy for you Pick easy electives How do I get a good final grade through course selection? Pick courses with professors who grade high © 2007-2012 IES Development Ltd. All Rights Reserved
  • 7. There are eight steps to generate an issue tree1) Write down the question/problem you are solving2) Quickly brainstorm possible solutions3) Organise and group the solutions logically, moving between general and specific thinking. Phrase each level as QUESTIONS.4) Expand branches of your tree, by seeing additional solutions to generic questions5) Prune branches of your tree where you can rule out solutions6) Move important issues up the tree, shift minor issues down the tree7) Try out different “cuts” to test which provides more insight8) Revisit the question © 2007-2012 IES Development Ltd. All Rights Reserved
  • 8. Productive brainstorming needs some team rules No discussion – especially no judgement/criticism Quantity more important than quality Encourage “silly’ ideas Brainstorm with a diverse group Record everything Everyone joins in Make it fun! PRACTICAL TIP: Use Post-Its, 1 idea per Post-It, call out and stick-up © 2007-2012 IES Development Ltd. All Rights Reserved
  • 9. Encourage “silly” ideas in brainstorming – it is easier for ideas toroll “downhill” than “uphill” “Silly” ideas It is easy to make a silly idea High more practical value, creative ideas It is very hard to make an obviousObvious idea creative ideas © 2007-2012 IES Development Ltd. All Rights Reserved
  • 10. There are eight steps to generate an issue tree1) Write down the question/problem you are solving2) Quickly brainstorm possible solutions3) Organise and group the solutions logically, moving between general and specific thinking. Phrase each level as QUESTIONS.4) Expand branches of your tree, by seeing additional solutions to generic questions5) Prune branches of your tree where you can rule out solutions6) Move important issues up the tree, shift minor issues down the tree7) Try out different “cuts” to test which provides more insight8) Revisit the question © 2007-2012 IES Development Ltd. All Rights Reserved
  • 11. You only learn how to use issue trees by doing……… STAGE 1: Write down the questionBig OpenQuestion:What or How…..? How do I get a good final grade? Issue Tree for “How do I get a good final grade?” © 2007-2012 IES Development Ltd. All Rights Reserved
  • 12. The second stage is to brainstorm all possible answers in order to open up the solution space STAGE 2: Brainstorm answers •Work with good teams •Participate in class fully •Suck up to the professor •Bribe the professorHow do I get •Hack the IT systema good final •Cheat in examsgrade? •Pick courses with professors who grade high •Pick courses that are easy for you •Study hard •Create a study group/partner Issue Tree© for “How do Ltd.get aReserved final grade?” 2007-2012 IES Development I All Rights good
  • 13. The third stage is to organise and group these possible solutions, generalising common types and building a draft tree STAGE 3: Organise and Group How do I get a good •Pick courses with professors who final grades through grade high course selection? •Pick courses that are easy for How do I get a you good final grade ethically? How do I get a good •Work with good teams final grade ethically on •Participate in class fully the courses I select? •Study hard •Create a study groupHow do I geta good final ETHICAL/UNETHICAL COURSE SELECTION/grade? CUT PERFORMANCE CUT Be unethical in •“Free-load” on good teams assessments •Cheat in exams How do I get a good Influence the •Suck up to the professor final grade professor’s grade •Bribe the professor unethically? Change the grade afterwards •Hack the IT system Branches must be INDEPENDENT and COMPLETE (Mutually Exclusive, Collectively Exhaustive) Issue Tree© for “How do Ltd.get aReserved final grade?” 2007-2012 IES Development I All Rights good
  • 14. The fourth stage is to expand branches, identifying additional solutions to make the tree complete STAGE 4: Expand branches How do I get a good •Pick courses with professors who final grade through grade high course selection? •Pick courses that are easy for How do I get a you good final grade ethically? Team Project grades How do I get a good Team Assignment grades final grade ethically on Individual Assignment gradesHow do I get the courses I select? Class participation gradesa good final Branches must be INDEPENDENT and COMPLETE Exam/Test gradesgrade? (Mutually Exclusive, Collectively Exhaustive) •Get someone else to use your nametag •Plagiarise projects Be unethical in •“Free-load” on good teams assessments •Cheat in exams How do I get a good Influence the •Suck up to the professor final grade professor’s grade •Bribe the professor unethically? •Threaten professor Change the grade afterwards •Hack the IT system •Appeal Issue Tree© for “How do Ltd.get aReserved final grade?” 2007-2012 IES Development I All Rights good
  • 15. The fifth stage is to prune branches that you want to eliminate from the solution space STAGE 5: Prune branches How do I get a good •Pick courses with professors who final grade through grade high course selection? •Pick courses that are easy for How do I get a you good final grade ethically? Team Project grades How do I get a good Team Assignment grades final grade ethically on Individual Assignment grades the courses I select? Class participation gradesHow do I get Exam/Test gradesa good final How does the question change •Get someone else to use yourgrade? when you prune branches? nametag •Plagiarise projects Be unethical in •“Free-load” on good teams assessments •Cheat in exams How do I get a good Influence the •Suck up to the professor final grade professor’s grade •Bribe the professor unethically? •Threaten professor Change the grade afterwards •Hack the IT system •Appeal Issue Tree© for “How do Ltd.get aReserved final grade?” 2007-2012 IES Development I All Rights good
  • 16. The sixth stage is to shift cuts up and down the tree STAGE 6: Move up and down the tree Team Team selection Improve exam technique grades Grades for a specific Research prior exams How do I get good team grades ethically on Pay attention in class the courses I select? Exam/test Do reading Class Individual participation Create study group gradesHow do I get Revise at last minute Projecta good finalgrade Assignmentethically? Pick courses that are Don’t take exemptions easy for you Pick easy electives How do I get a good final grade through course selection? Pick courses with professors who grade high Issue Tree for “How IES Development Ltd. All Rights Reserved grade ethically?” © 2007-2012 do I get a good final
  • 17. The seventh stage is to try different cuts on the issues to see which one is most useful STAGE 7: Try different cuts Team Team Improve exam technique selection grades Grades for a specific Research prior exams How do I get a good team final grade on the Pay attention in class courses I select? Exams/tests Do reading Class Individual participation Create study group gradesHow do I get Revise at last minute Projectsa good final What other cuts could you use?grade Assignmentsethically? …..by not taking exemptions How can I get a gfge by I could? picking courses that are …by picking electives that How do I get a good easy for me? are easy for me? final grade through course selection? How can I get a gfge by picking courses with professors who grade high? Issue Tree for “How IES Development Ltd. All Rights Reserved grade ethically?” © 2007-2012 do I get a good final
  • 18. The final stage is to revisit the question. Is it the right one? STAGE 8: Revisit the question Team Team Improve exam technique selection grades Grades for a specific Research prior exams How do I get a good team final grade on the Pay attention in class courses I select? Exams/tests Do reading Class Individual participation Create study group grades Revise at last minuteHow do I get a good What could be a Projectsfinal grade better question?ethically? Assignments Pick courses that are Don’t take exemptions easy for you Pick easy electives How do I get a good final grade through course selection? Pick courses with professors who grade high Issue Tree for “How IES Development Ltd. All Rights Reserved grade ethically?” © 2007-2012 do I get a good final
  • 19. To create an issue tree, you break down a question into smaller questions that are independent and complete How you can achieve Sub Issue 1a this? Continue breaking down issues Issue 1 Sub Issue 1b until you have one small enough to analyse Sub Issue 1c Break it down into components Sub Issue 2.a.i Sub Issue 2a Sub Issue 2.a.ii Sub Issue 2.a.iii Open Question Issue 2 Sub Issue 2bBig Open Sub Issue 2cQuestion:What or How…..? Sub Issue 3a Issue 3 Sub Issue 3b Sub Issue 3c Branches must be INDEPENDENT and COMPLETE MECE (Mutually Exclusive, Collectively Exhaustive) Reserved © 2007-2012 IES Development Ltd. All Rights
  • 20. There are many different dimensions you can use to cut a problem up in your issue treeTime based: Before/During/AfterExisting/New: Existing customer/Potential customer Existing products/new products Existing business/new businessOrganisational: Business 1, 2,3,4…. Segment 1,2,3,4… Channels 1,2,3,4… Product 1,2,3,4… Country 1,2,3,4…Frameworks: Marketing: 4Ps Organisational – 7S Portfolio: Attractiveness/Our advantageFinancial:Revenue/Cost/CapitalDistinctions: Supply/demand Quality/quantity Ethical/unethicalProcess: Value chain (producer; distributor; retailer; user) Step 1,2,3,4 © 2007-2012 IES Development Ltd. All Rights Reserved
  • 21. If you can master issue trees, no fuzzy ambiguous problem need ever worry you againThe biggest challenges:  Moving between generalisations and specifics  Ensuring your branches are MECE It can take a team half a day to create the best issue tree on a complex project. Usually time well invested, since the better the tree, the less work will be wasted. But STOP when you hit diminishing returns! Iterate – while doing it, you see another way of cutting it, each generating different insights. The issue tree maps out your work plan – your analysis focuses on finding facts to answer the questions at the far end of the tree The issue tree also is a good structure for your “deliverable” (see Pyramid Principle)  BEST LEARNT BY DOING – practice issue trees in every case from now on! © 2007-2012 IES Development Ltd. All Rights Reserved
  • 22. An issue tree for a full consulting project could have 5 levels, over 30 sub-issues and take the team a day to get right McKinsey example: UK Childcare projectSource: http://interactive.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/strategy/survivalguide/index.htm © 2007-2012 IES Development Ltd. All Rights Reserved
  • 23. The only way to learn to use issue trees is by practicing Class Exercise: Create an issue tree for How can drug* problems be reduced?*Limit scope to illegal drugs (e.g. ketamine, e, cocaine, heroin) , not pharmaceutical, alcohol, tobacco © 2007-2012 IES Development Ltd. All Rights Reserved
  • 24. The only way to learn to use issue trees is by practicing Class Exercise: Create an issue tree for How can we solve the world’s environmental problems? © 2007-2012 IES Development Ltd. All Rights Reserved
  • 25. Productive brainstorming needs some team rules No discussion – especially no judgement/criticism Quantity more important than quality Encourage “silly’ ideas Brainstorm with a diverse group Record everything Everyone joins in Make it fun! PRACTICAL TIP: Use Post-Its, 1 idea per Post-It, call out and stick-up © 2007-2012 IES Development Ltd. All Rights Reserved
  • 26. There are eight steps to generate an issue tree1) Write down the question/problem you are solving2) Quickly brainstorm possible solutions3) Organise and group the solutions logically, moving between general and specific thinking. Phrase each level as QUESTIONS.4) Expand branches of your tree, by seeing additional solutions to generic questions5) Prune branches of your tree where you can rule out solutions6) Move important issues up the tree, shift minor issues down the tree7) Try out different “cuts” to test which provides more insight8) Revisit the question © 2007-2012 IES Development Ltd. All Rights Reserved
  • 27. Issue Tree for “How can drug problems be reduced?” Influence government “Regime change” How can we reduce Provide resources supply in growing Influence processors countries? Influence farmers Crop destruction How can we Incentives to grow How can we stop drugs Detection technology reduce the International cooperation other crops in transit? supply of How can we drugs? How can we increase the chance of dealers being How can we stop reduce the drug distribution in caught? quantity of drug user countries? How can we increase the consequences of being caught? Tax use? How can we punish Seize drug dealer How can we users more? How can we reduce the rewards assets reduce the How can we help users of dealing? Money laundering demand for recognise the real costs EducationHow can drug drugs? and benefits? Advertising Competitionproblems be Medical Researchreduced? How can we reduce the benefits for users? How can we improve anti- addiction treatments? How can we help users How can we recover from drugs? How can we improve rehabilitation clinics? Develop new drugs reduce the impact of How can we make drugs safer Hand out clean needles How can we reduce the and healthier? drug-use? dangers of drug-use? How can we encourage Incentivise Quality Control switching to less harmful How can we reduce the side- drugs? effects of drug-use (e.g. gangs, crime, prostitution) All Rights Reserved © 2007-2012 IES Development Ltd.
  • 28. Once you have completed your issue tree, check that it will help you structure the problem•Are we answering the right question?•Are the branches complete? Have possible solutions been left out?•Are the branches independent? Will the overlaps make discrete analysis difficult?•Is this cut of the tree useful? What other cuts can you imagine that might shed different light on the problem?•Can you immediately cut off branches of the tree by reducing scope?•Go through every sub-issue at the end of the issue tree. Can you imagine a fact-based analysis to answer each one of them, or are they still too vague? © 2007-2012 IES Development Ltd. All Rights Reserved
  • 29. Sources to learn more about using issue trees Cambridge University Engineering Department http://www2.eng.cam.ac.uk/~mpj1001/MJ_teaching_pg.html http://interactive.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/strategy/survivalguide/skills/s_issue.htm © 2007-2012 IES Development Ltd. All Rights Reserved