Problem: What’s wrong with the way things are now?
When a new project crosses your desk or a new problem crosses your mind, here are a few questions to help you organize your thoughts and ideas:
- What problem are you going to try to solve?
- Why do you think this is a problem?
- Who is affected by this problem?
- Why hasn’t this problem been solved yet?
- For whom is this not a problem
- They’re happy with the status quo
- A solution might cause them a problem
- What other barriers do you face?
- What will it look like when this problem is solved?
The first few bullet points are important warm-ups so you know your purpose, your project mission, and who your audience is. The rest of these points may be even more important. Take another look.
Is there a reason why this situation, whatever it may be, still exists? What unique qualities and strengths to you bring to the party?
Remember that one of the barriers to solving the problem might be that somebody, somewhere and for some reason, likes things the way they are! Maybe it’s a competitor, either in the market place or in your organization! What can you do to overcome not only inertia, but the momentum of some other product, person, or presence?
The last point is also important: what will it look like when the problem is solved? Are we talking about a new world order or just a happier customer? A happier you? This visioning exercise will give you goals to strive for as well as a more clear deliverable to win others to your cause and gain their support.