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The Problem Is Not The Problem

The greatest lesson I ever learned was this: I am a Problem Solver. Problem solvers look for (and often find) problems even when they don't exist.

The real problem is that most "problems" are not, in fact, problems. Without a simple framework to help us categorize different kinds of problems, what tends to happen is that people try to "solve" problems or "fix" things they think are broken when they would be better served by first understanding the problem's true nature. Rather than framing everything as a problem which, by definition, can be solved, it's essential to sort problems into the right bucket because some problems don't need to be solved, some get worse when we try to solve them, and others are simply too big to treat them as solvable.

http://schedule.sxsw.com/2014/events/event_IAP24159

The Problem Is Not The Problem

  1. 1. The Problem is 
 Not the Problem Harry Max, VP Product & Design! Jim Meyer, VP Product & Development! ! Rackspace Hosting
  2. 2. There’s no sense in being precise 
 when you don’t even know 
 what you’re talking about.
 
 John von Neumann #sxrackspace
  3. 3. I’m a problem solver. #sxrackspace
  4. 4. You’re a problem solver. #sxrackspace
  5. 5. It’s what we do. #sxrackspace
  6. 6. http://www.anonymousartofrevolution.com/2012/10/the-problem-is-not-problem-problem-is.html
  7. 7. Let’s unpack that. #sxrackspace
  8. 8. “The problem is …” is problematic. #sxrackspace
  9. 9. We go looking for problems. #sxrackspace
  10. 10. Sometimes we make the problem. #sxrackspace
  11. 11. Most of the time, we don’t realize what the problem really is. #sxrackspace
  12. 12. Repairing vs. Creating Value #sxrackspace
  13. 13. Repairing vs. Creating Value #sxrackspace
  14. 14. Small Scope of impact Epic The Problem is Not the Problem Trivial Difficulty to solve Brutal #sxrackspace
  15. 15. Epic The Problem is Not the Problem ELE Potential! Disaster Small Scope of impact Quagmire Predicament Problem Dilemma Issue Trivial Difficulty to solve Brutal #sxrackspace
  16. 16. Small ELE By definition, problems can be solved Potential! Disaster Quagmire Scope of impact Epic The Problem is Not the Problem Predicament Problem Dilemma Issue Trivial Difficulty to solve Brutal #sxrackspace
  17. 17. Small ELE Dilemmas require you to choose Potential! Disaster Quagmire Scope of impact Epic The Problem is Not the Problem Predicament Problem Dilemma Issue Trivial Difficulty to solve Brutal #sxrackspace
  18. 18. Small ELE Issues may need to be addressed Potential! Disaster Quagmire Scope of impact Epic The Problem is Not the Problem Predicament Problem Dilemma Issue Trivial Difficulty to solve Brutal #sxrackspace
  19. 19. Small ELE Predicaments are problems that! can’t be solved, by definition Potential! Disaster Quagmire Scope of impact Epic The Problem is Not the Problem Predicament Problem Dilemma Issue Trivial Difficulty to solve Brutal #sxrackspace
  20. 20. Small ELE Quagmires are predicaments that! get worse as you try to solve them! Potential! Disaster Quagmire Scope of impact Epic The Problem is Not the Problem Predicament Problem Dilemma Issue Trivial Difficulty to solve Brutal #sxrackspace
  21. 21. Small ELE Potential disasters are scary Potential! Disaster Quagmire Scope of impact Epic The Problem is Not the Problem Predicament Problem Dilemma Issue Trivial Difficulty to solve Brutal #sxrackspace
  22. 22. Small ELE Extinction level events, if they ! come to pass, end it all. Potential! Disaster Quagmire Scope of impact Epic The Problem is Not the Problem Predicament Problem Dilemma Issue Trivial Difficulty to solve Brutal #sxrackspace
  23. 23. The Problem is Not the Problem Epic Solve ELE Potential! Disaster Small Scope of impact Quagmire Predicament Problem Dilemma Issue Trivial Difficulty to solve Brutal #sxrackspace
  24. 24. The Problem is Not the Problem Epic Solve Manage ELE Potential! Disaster Small Scope of impact Quagmire Predicament Problem Dilemma Issue Trivial Difficulty to solve Brutal #sxrackspace
  25. 25. The Problem is Not the Problem Epic Solve Manage Mind ELE Potential! Disaster Small Scope of impact Quagmire Predicament Problem Dilemma Issue Trivial Difficulty to solve Brutal #sxrackspace
  26. 26. The Problem is Not the Problem Epic Solve Manage Mind Plan ELE Potential! Disaster Small Scope of impact Quagmire Predicament Problem Dilemma Issue Trivial Difficulty to solve Brutal #sxrackspace
  27. 27. So, where should you focus? #sxrackspace
  28. 28. The Problem is Not the Problem Epic Solve START HERE Scope of impact Small Manage Mind Less effort, ! more impact Plan ELE Potential! Disaster Quagmire Predicament Problem Dilemma Issue Trivial Difficulty to solve Brutal #sxrackspace
  29. 29. The Problem is Not the Problem Epic Solve Manage Mind Plan ELE Potential! Disaster Small Scope of impact Quagmire Predicament Problem Issue WORK ABOVE THE LINE Trivial Brutal Dilemma Things down here are lower impact Difficulty to solve #sxrackspace
  30. 30. There’s no sense in being precise 
 when you don’t even know 
 what you’re talking about.
 
 John von Neumann #sxrackspace
  31. 31. The problem is not the problem. #sxrackspace

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The greatest lesson I ever learned was this: I am a Problem Solver. Problem solvers look for (and often find) problems even when they don't exist. The real problem is that most "problems" are not, in fact, problems. Without a simple framework to help us categorize different kinds of problems, what tends to happen is that people try to "solve" problems or "fix" things they think are broken when they would be better served by first understanding the problem's true nature. Rather than framing everything as a problem which, by definition, can be solved, it's essential to sort problems into the right bucket because some problems don't need to be solved, some get worse when we try to solve them, and others are simply too big to treat them as solvable. http://schedule.sxsw.com/2014/events/event_IAP24159

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