joi, 18 aprilie 2013

5 Whys Quickly Getting to the Root of a Problem part 2

Using Aides Memoire
How to Use the Tool:
An Aide Memoire (Memory aid) is a structured list of points or headings that should be considered when solving a particular problem. It tends to be specific to the type of problem being faced.

A good aide memoire or checklist can be a very powerful planning tool, as it will contain a great deal of the experience of the people who developed it. If you use a good aide memoire effectively, you can be reasonably confident that you will have considered all relevant factors. Often this makes the difference between carrying out a task effectively and making a mess of it, particularly when you are under pressure.

Aides Memoire are routinely used in areas as diverse as computer systems analysis, construction of financial proposals and military planning.
Developing an Aide Memoire
If you are solving a common problem, then a good aide memoire may already exist for it. If you cannot find a good pre-prepared one, then you may have to develop it for yourself. This is worthwhile where you need to plan a number of similar jobs.

Developing an aide memoire is an iterative process: first you start by producing what you think is a definitive list of points or headings that should be considered. Use this to plan the job. After the job is complete, review the list, and see if there are any additional points that should be included. Every time an unforeseen problem arises on a project, ask yourself whether you need to prompt yourself on it on your list.

Key points:
An aide memoire is a standard list of points or headings that show what you should consider while you are planning to solve a problem. By using an aide memoire you ensure that you do not forget important factors.

Aides memoire should be improved continuously. If you find that have not included an important point, then update the list appropriately. This ensures that the next time you use the aide memoire you will remember to think about the point. This will improve the quality and depth of future planning that you carry out.

Drill Down
Breaking Problems Down Into Manageable Parts

Drill Down is a simple technique for breaking complex problems down into progressively smaller parts.

To use the technique, start by writing the problem down on the left-hand side of a large sheet of paper. Next, write down the points that make up the next level of detail on the problem a little to the right of this. These may be factors contributing to the problem, information relating to it, or questions raised by it. This process of breaking the problem down into its component part is called 'drilling down'.

For each of these points, repeat the process. Keep on drilling down into points until you fully understand the factors contributing to the problem. If you cannot break them down using the knowledge you have, then carry out whatever research is necessary to understand the point.

Drilling into a question helps you to get a much deeper understanding of it. The process helps you to recognise and understand the factors that contribute to it. Drill Down prompts you to link in information that you had not initially associated with a problem. It also shows exactly where you need further information.
The owner of a windsurfing club is having complaints from its members about the unpleasant quality of the water close to the clubhouse. This seems like a huge problem. She carries out the analysis in Figure 1:

This gives her a starting point in which to begin thinking about the problem. It highlights where she does not fully understand the problem, and shows where she needs to carry out further research.
Key points:
'Drill Down' helps you to break a large and complex problem down into its component parts, so that you can develop plans to deal with these parts. It also shows you which points you need to research in more detail.

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