Monthly Archives: April 2013

#123 Selecting a solution

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As you have figured out by now from my blog posts, I like the rule of 3. This rule is validated and adopted by a variety of disciplines, besides, it is easy to understand and it sounds really cool! Here is today’s edition.

When arguing the merits of a solution, I try to shift attention to the problem. Once the problem is clearly understood, (or if people insist on debating solutions before the problem is clear) I compare the candidate solutions using the following criteria:

  • Which one will solve the problem most (or least) effectively? Here “effective” solution is defined as one that is scalable, repeatable, has no side effects.
  • Which one will cost the least (or the most)? This includes, cash costs, opportunity costs, and intangible costs (such as broken relationships and loss of trust).
  • Which one is the fastest (or slowest) to implement?

The fact that I have an emotional preference should take lower priority, but I often use it as a tie breaker.

Here is a bonus criteria:

  • Which one will give me flexibility? Meaning, which one will allow me to change my mind with the least penalty?

What are the criteria you use to choose between competing solutions?


#122 Relationship with metrics

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Everyone in the workplace is moving a metric. For example, the CEO is trying to move the stock price upwards, the CFO is trying to move costs downwards.

Before you can move the metric, you have to obtain it. This “measurement” is done by specialists, or by the person who needs the metric. Sometimes this measurement is easy because self service tools are available. Think of a traffic policeman with a radar gun. Sometimes this is difficult. Think of the operations function in organizations, most of them struggle to obtain business process related metrics.

Finding the right metric will take you 80% to insight. The problem is, getting the measurement takes 80% of the time, with only 20% left for analysis, interpretation, and recommendations.

The beauty of fixing this problem is that it will reveal the improvements to be made for the metrics to be meaningful.