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Issue-Based Work Planning and Hypothesis Problem Solving

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The principles behind Issue-Based Work Planning are a powerful concept for use on all business issues and help to align the approach with the overriding issues, rather than the traditional process structure.

They help ensure that all relevant project issues are covered and to arrive at the most robust and creative answer, by linking analyses and end products to a methodical analysis of key issues.

This powerpoint is suitable for anyone who is looking for a robust methodology to solve the most complex of issues.

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Issue-Based Work Planning and Hypothesis Problem Solving

  1. 1. Issue-Based Work Planning and Hypothesis Problem Solving
  2. 2. INTRO Issues, rather than tasks or analysis, drive the process Problem Definition Issue Tree Creation Hypothesis Generation Defining Analysis and Identifying Data Sources 2
  3. 3. INTRO An Issue-Based Work Planning is developed in five Steps 4
  4. 4. DEFINE THE PROBLEM 1 The Situation and Complication set the stage for the Overriding Question Situation Complication Overriding Question • ... • But ... • Meanwhile, ... • ... ? 6
  5. 5. DEVELOP AN ISSUE TREE 2 Starting from the overriding question, develop an issue tree Example First Level Issue — Example Brainstorm first level issues and chart them on an issue tree Overriding Question Can US Utility salvage its share price? Can US Utility keep control of its future into the medium term? Issues and sub-issues should • Relate directly to the overriding question • Fall within the scope of the overriding question • Be mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive (MECE) Are there ways of avoiding being taken over if share price cannot be salvaged? 8
  6. 6. DEVELOP AN ISSUE TREE 2 There are three generic types of issue trees that could be constructed Description Deductive Starts with problem definition and divides it into components Elements in splits When to Use Actions, assertions, questions, categories Early on, when you don't know much Postulates a hypothesis and develops a necessary and sufficient rationale to validate or disprove it Reasons/questions At any point in the process Phrases key issues so that they can be answered yes or no, and sequence them in a logical order showing the depending action Questions Use issue maps to frame options, usually later in the process What/how Reasons Hypothesis driven Yes ? Issue Map No 10
  7. 7. DEVELOP AN ISSUE TREE 2 Repeat the exercise to brainstorm second level issues Example Second Level Issues First Level Issue Can US Utility salvage its share price? Can US Utility beat the cost base agreed with the Regulator? Can US Utility divest and refocus? Overriding Question Can US Utility keep control of its future into the medium term? Can US Utility create growth options? Can US Utility grow organically? Can US Utility grow by acquisition? Can US Utility avoid being taken over? Can US Utility build scale quickly? 12
  8. 8. DEVELOP AN ISSUE TREE 2 Use simple hypotheses to prune the issue tree Second Level Issues First Level Issues Can US Utility salvage its share price? Can US Utility keep control of its future into the medium term? Can US Utility create growth options? Can US Utility avoid being taken over? Can it beat the cost base it has agreed with the regulator? Can it divest and refocus? Can it convince investors? Can it grow by acquisition? Are there targets to pursue? Can it build scale quickly? Can it secure a place in the postconsolidation industry line-up? Example First Level Hypotheses - Impact on company’s share price would be: Medium (regulator would respond after a delay) Medium (the company could divest several divisions) Large (Investors seek a credible US player in this sector) Low (The company has shown low ability to handle acquisitions) Negative (Research warns of overpayment for targets; few opportunities) Medium (The company has shown some ability to grow organically) Medium (The industry is predicted to find a stable equilibrium) 14
  9. 9. DEVELOP AN ISSUE TREE 2 Think about issue analysis as drilling for oil Impact of Pruning Surface Drilling Deep Drilling Informed Exploration • Average effort • Heavy effort • Optimal effort • Surface knowledge • Time consuming • Economy of knowledge • Fails to capture the deeper insights • Excess knowledge • Expertise • Blind alleys • • Much wasted effort Highest return on investment 16
  10. 10. GENERATE HYPOTHESES 3 Example Good hypotheses measure up against the criteria Third Level Issue Is This Better? Hypothesis • Can the Utility increase operational efficiency? The company can increase operational efficiency by 10% by improving its purchasing practices Does it address a single issue • Is this an educated guess at the answer, or conclusion • Is it testable: Can we prove or disprove it? • Is it useful: Will it help solve the problem? • Is it comprehensive: Have we covered all the angles? 18
  11. 11. DEFINE ANALYSES AND DATA SOURCES 4 Define the specific analysis needed to prove or disprove the hypothesis – analysis should seek to answer a very specific question Third Level Issue Specific Questions for Analysis Hypothesis • Can the Utility increase operational efficiency? The company can increase operational efficiency by 10% by improving its purchasing practices Example • • • • • What trends in operational efficiency are already present? What is the purchasing spend today? What have been the recent trends in this? What opportunities do e-auctions offer? Would purchasing changes impact on quality? Could new suppliers integrate with the other key organisational initiative? 20
  12. 12. DEFINE ANALYSES AND DATA SOURCES 4 Data collection matrix and data collection grid - examples Example Planning: Example of data collection grid 22
  13. 13. 24

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