Solving Client Issues

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Logical Framework, Tools & Techniques

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Solving Client Issues

  1. 1. Solving Client Issues Framework, Tools & Techniques Anand Subramaniam
  2. 2. <ul><li>“ One who never asks either knows everything or nothing.” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- Malcom Forbes </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Highlights <ul><li>Framework </li></ul><ul><li>Tools & Techniques – Issue Definition </li></ul><ul><li>Tools & Techniques – Hypotheses Formulation </li></ul><ul><li>Tools & Techniques – Fact Collection </li></ul><ul><li>Tools & Techniques – Performing Analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Tools & Techniques – Solution Viability </li></ul>
  4. 4. Framework
  5. 5. Do you struggle with these… Client’s Issue What is logical thinking? What tools & techniques does one deploy to effectively to solve a client’s issue? What framework does one use to manage stakeholder expectation? Is there a systematic process one can use when problem solving? How to identify the key drivers behind an issue? When to apply specific techniques, viz., brainstorming, root cause analysis, SWOT etc? How does one test the proposed solutions before client submission? How to present a viable solution / convincing argument to solve critical problems? How to define the problem?
  6. 6. An Approach to Issue Resolution Issue Analysis Solution Hypothesis Facts Issue Resolution
  7. 7. Issue Definition <ul><li>Definition </li></ul><ul><li>An Issue is a situation that is judged as something that needs to be corrected </li></ul><ul><li>Focus </li></ul><ul><li>It is our job to ensure we’re solving the right issue and / or it may not be the one presented to us by the client </li></ul><ul><li>What do we really need to solve? </li></ul><ul><li>Concept </li></ul><ul><li>Most of the issues are initially identified by our clients </li></ul><ul><li>Defining the issue clearly improves focus – it drives the logical thinking process </li></ul><ul><li>Getting to a clearly definition of the issue is often a challenge </li></ul><ul><li>Start with a conceptual definition and through analysis (root cause, impact analysis, etc.) to shape and redefine the issue(s) on hand </li></ul>
  8. 8. Hypotheses Formulation <ul><li>Definition </li></ul><ul><li>Hypothesis is a tentative explanation for an observation that can be tested (i.e. proved or disproved) by further investigation </li></ul><ul><li>Focus </li></ul><ul><li>Start at the end - figuring out the solution to the issue, i.e. &quot;hypothesising“. This will help to build a roadmap for issue resolution </li></ul><ul><li>Concept </li></ul><ul><li>Hypotheses can be expressed as possible root causes of the problem </li></ul><ul><li>Breaking down the problem into key drivers (root causes) can help formulate hypotheses </li></ul>
  9. 9. Fact Collection <ul><li>Definition </li></ul><ul><li>Collect meaningful information for decision making </li></ul><ul><ul><li>qualitative (expert opinions) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>quantitative (measurable performance) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Focus </li></ul><ul><li>Gathering relevant data and information is a critical step in supporting the analyses required for proving or disproving the hypotheses </li></ul><ul><li>Concept </li></ul><ul><li>Know where to dig </li></ul><ul><li>Know how to filter through information </li></ul><ul><li>Know how to verify – Has happened in the past </li></ul><ul><li>Know how to apply – Relates to what you are trying to solve </li></ul>
  10. 10. Analysis <ul><li>Definition </li></ul><ul><li>Breaking the issue into manageable chunks through the application of knowledge and utilising various analytical techniques </li></ul><ul><li>Focus </li></ul><ul><li>Analysis of the facts is required to prove or disprove the hypotheses </li></ul><ul><li>Analysis provides an understanding of issues and drivers behind the problem </li></ul><ul><li>Concept </li></ul><ul><li>It is generally better to spend more time analysing the data and information as opposed to collecting them </li></ul><ul><li>The goal is to find the “golden nuggets” that quickly confirm or deny a hypothesis </li></ul><ul><li>Root cause analysis, storyboarding, and force field analysis are some of many analytical techniques that can applied </li></ul>
  11. 11. Solution Viability <ul><li>Definition </li></ul><ul><li>Solutions are the final recommendations presented to our clients based on the outcomes of the hypothesis testing </li></ul><ul><li>Focus </li></ul><ul><li>Solutions are what our clients pay us for </li></ul><ul><li>Concept </li></ul><ul><li>It is important to ensure the solution fits the client – solutions are useless if they cannot be implemented </li></ul><ul><li>Running an actual example through the solution is an effective way of testing the effectiveness and viability of the solution </li></ul>
  12. 12. Tools & Techniques – Issue Definition
  13. 13. Issue Definition <ul><li>Issues can be identified through: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Surveys </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Complaints </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SWOT Analysis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Comparative / benchmarking studies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Root Cause Analysis - what, how & why </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Performance reporting - assessment of current performance against goals and objectives </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Issue Definition – Questions to Ask How How should the process or system work? How are people currently handling the problem? Who Who is causing the problem? Who says this is a problem? Who are impacted by this problem? When When does this problem occur? When did this problem first start occurring? Where Where does this problem occur? Where does this problem have an impact ? What What will happen if this problem is not solved? What are the symptoms? What are the impacts? Why Why is this problem occurring? Why? Why? Why? Why?
  15. 15. Root Cause Analysis – “Five Why’s” <ul><li>Root cause - Specific underlying cause that can reasonably be identified and be fixed </li></ul><ul><li>Asking “Why” the issue exists, in order to get to the root cause of the problem </li></ul>Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Client retention low Clients’ are moving to your competition Clients’ are not satisfied with the level of your service Clients’ feel that the sales promises remain unfulfilled Clients believe they get a better deal from the competition Demand for specific products has increased in the market
  16. 16. Root Cause Analysis – “Fishbone” <ul><li>Fishbone Diagram (Cause and Effect Diagram) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>An analysis tool that provides a systematic way of looking at effects and the causes that create or contribute to those effects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provides a method for categorising the many potential causes of the issues in an orderly way to identify the root causes. </li></ul></ul>Cause Detail Cause Detail Cause Detail Cause Detail Result (Problem)
  17. 17. Root Cause Analysis – Others <ul><li>Force Field Analysis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Visually show forces that impact an issue </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Scatter Diagrams </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Graphs the relationship of two variables – quantifies the correlation, showing how one variable influences another </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Process Mapping </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Maps the “as is” flow of activities that make up a process – look for excessive handoffs, redundancies, and other root causes of inefficiencies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Benchmarking </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Compares existing performance to another internal or external source </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identifies issues not revealed through other techniques </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Tools & Techniques – Hypotheses Formulation
  19. 19. Brainstorming <ul><li>Brainstorming is useful when there is a wide range of possible issues and solutions </li></ul><ul><li>Brainstorming is not appropriate for testing an idea; it is used to generate ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Finalise outcome of the brainstorming process through consensus: Highest Priority, Assigning Points, etc </li></ul>
  20. 20. Formulating Hypotheses Issue Concern #1 Concern #2 Concern #3 Hypothesis #1A Hypothesis #1B Hypothesis #1C Hypothesis #1D Concern Hypotheses Key Questions Questions which need to be answered or topics which need to be explored in order to solve a n issue Speculative answers for concerns that are phrased as questions and/or areas for exploration Questions that probe hypotheses and drive the primary research required to solve the issue Key Questions #1B-a Key Questions #1B-b Key Questions #1B-c Key Questions #1B-d
  21. 21. Remember.. <ul><li>Issue diagrams provide a framework for brainstorming, documenting the issues and in identifying the facts (i.e. data) required to support conclusions and recommended solutions </li></ul><ul><li>Hypotheses and the key questions will help shape data collection requirements and ensure that only relevant data is collected </li></ul><ul><li>Formulation of hypotheses and key questions is an evolving process – they will need to be revised as new insights and discoveries are made </li></ul>
  22. 22. Pitfalls to Avoid <ul><li>Concerns </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Too broad or too narrow </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Too many to be easily remembered </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Of uneven weight </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not sequenced effectively </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Hypotheses </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Too few to cover the concerns </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Too many to be easily remembered </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not supportable by data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not directly relevant to the issue </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Key Questions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Too few to test the hypotheses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Too many to be easily remembered </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Irrelevant to the hypotheses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not answerable with data </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Tools & Techniques – Fact Collection
  24. 24. Qualitative Vs. Quantitative Techniques <ul><li>Qualitative </li></ul><ul><li>Flexible </li></ul><ul><li>Often recorded in narrative form </li></ul><ul><li>Useful in answering the &quot;why&quot;, &quot;what&quot;, and &quot;how&quot; questions </li></ul><ul><li>Loosely structured / use open-ended questions </li></ul><ul><li>Focus group discussions </li></ul><ul><li>Observations </li></ul><ul><li>Quantitative </li></ul><ul><li>Less flexible </li></ul><ul><li>Structured questionnaires designed to quantify pre- or post-categorised answers to questions </li></ul><ul><li>Useful in answering the &quot;how many&quot;, &quot;how often&quot;, &quot;how significant&quot;, etc. questions </li></ul><ul><li>Answers to questions can be counted & expressed numerically </li></ul>
  25. 25. Collecting Facts / Data <ul><li>The critical steps are to identify what information, i.e. data elements, is required and develop a data collection approach / technique </li></ul><ul><li>Depending on the type of client issues being solved, different data-collection techniques may be used </li></ul><ul><li>Combining a number of different techniques allows looking at problems from different perspectives </li></ul><ul><li>Data collection is a critical stage in problem solving - if it is superficial, biased or incomplete, data analysis will be difficult </li></ul>
  26. 26. Data Collection Techniques <ul><li>Flip charts </li></ul>Facilitating free discussions on specific topics with selected group of participants Conducting Focus Groups <ul><li>Survey </li></ul><ul><li>Questionnaire </li></ul>Collecting data based on answers provided by respondents in written form Administering Written Questionnaires <ul><li>Interview guide </li></ul><ul><li>Data compilation forms </li></ul>Oral questioning of respondents, either individually or as a group Interviewing <ul><li>Eyes and ears </li></ul><ul><li>Data compilation forms </li></ul>Systematically selecting, watching and recording behavior and characteristics of people, objects or events Observing <ul><li>Checklist </li></ul><ul><li>Data compilation forms </li></ul>Using data that has already been collected by others Using Available Information Tools Description Technique
  27. 27. Tools & Techniques – Performing Analysis
  28. 28. Performing Analysis <ul><li>Clearly defined issues or questions drive the analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Match up the clearly defined question or issue with the appropriate analytical tool(s) </li></ul><ul><li>Once matched then collect the facts </li></ul>Pareto Analysis Force Field Analysis SWOT Benchmarking What are the most important issues? What performance areas are weak? What are the core competencies of the client? What forces can influence the problem?
  29. 29. Analysis Techniques <ul><li>Benchmarking </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Compare and measure a process or activity against an internal or external source </li></ul></ul><ul><li>SWOT Analysis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Assessment of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Force Field Analysis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Overall environmental landscape and how it impacts the area of study </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cost Benefit Analysis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Compare total equivalent costs against equivalent value in benefits </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Impact Analysis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ What if” analysis to assess the impact of change </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Pareto Chart </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bar Chart for categorising issues or other attributes in terms of importance </li></ul></ul>
  30. 30. Impact Analysis Tools <ul><li>Scenario Playing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Storyboarding out how the future will unfold between alternatives: Do Nothing vs. Solution </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cost Benefit Analysis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Used to quantify impacts </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Decision Tree Analysis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Build a tree and assign probabilities to each alternative to arrive at the most likely solution </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Simulation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Modeling a process and seeing how it changes when one or more variables change </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Prototype Model </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Build and test the solution on a small scale before implementation, to flush out lessons learned </li></ul></ul>
  31. 31. Tools & Techniques – Solution Viability
  32. 32. Note.. <ul><li>Select and plan the solution that has the greatest impact on solving the problem </li></ul><ul><li>Use a solutions rating matrix to weigh different solutions based on selection criteria (costs, probability of success, ease of implementation) </li></ul><ul><li>Solutions should have support from your previous analysis that you can clearly communicate to the client </li></ul><ul><li>Test your solutions by using some of the Impact Analysis Tools </li></ul><ul><li>Back your solution with an implementation plan, complete with milestones to measure performance </li></ul>
  33. 33. <ul><li>“It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question.” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- Eugene Ionesco </li></ul></ul>
  34. 34. <ul><li>Good Luck </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.linkedin.com/in/anandsubramaniam </li></ul>

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