When you have a problem to solve, you want a solution – naturally.
But what if your business/experience/knowledge doesn’t revolve solely around that problem?
For example, unless you understand plumbing, you may not know the best solution to solve that water problem that seems to have shown up underneath the kitchen sink.
So, where do you start?
Step 1: (Truly) Understand the Problem
Are you sure that’s what you want?
Let’s say you mention the kitchen sink issue to your brother. He decides that water is from a faucet problem, and a new faucet will fix the issue. Google “kitchen faucets” and you’ll get in the neighborhood of 58,100,000 results.
Start clicking on some links, and suddenly you’re Alice in Wonderland down the rabbit hole comparing sprayers, handles, and other features.
Never mind the fact that you don’t know if your brother was right about needing the faucet in the first place. For all you know, the garbage disposal is causing the problem.
The best place to start is to understand the problem. Go to the sink, review the situation, exercise the options (run the water, run the disposal, etc.), and note the facts. Some people may take this new information and move on to reviewing YouTube videos – and some people might call an expert (a Plumber – not your brother (unless your brother is a plumber)).
Hopefully, this narrows down the problem to the errant part of your sink.
Step 2: Understand the (Actual) Why
Why do you want to address this issue?
It might be obvious in our little plumbing example what the “why” is (water under your sink is not a good thing and will lead to bigger (more expensive) issues).
But surprisingly, many who are trying to solve problems in their businesses don’t truly understand the “why.” Maybe they are responding to a symptom of a greater problem. Maybe they’re interested in trying a new technology. Maybe they’re trying to keep their operations budget from being reallocated to another department.
Regardless – unless you have a grip on why you want something done, how can you measure if whatever solution you choose was successful?
Step 3: Understand the Big Picture
Is that all you need?
Let’s say the researched facts on the kitchen sink issue point to needing a new garbage disposal. Great – but do you know how to install it (or even safely remove the old one)? What if you do it wrong? What is the warranty? How long will it last?
Make sure you understand how this solution (or project) will flow, what all of the pieces or support that you’ll need are – and their costs. How hard or easy is this going to be? What are the risks?
Arming yourself with information can always help you make decisions – or at least smooth the path. We face this solution evaluation challenge a lot in the software solutions world.
The problems our clients are trying to address aren’t always as clear as our water-under-the-sink example. But the navigation of the path from problem to solution is often similar.
So the next time you are trying to solve a problem with a software solution, remember to:
- First, ensure you have a solid understanding of the goals (what & why) for the project
- Next, think through the bigger picture of what solving the problem could look like
You don’t need to navigate your learning curve alone. There are experts out there, like the plumber, that can help with the steps above.
The good ones will also:
- Present how their solution can solve your problem – addressing your goals, ideally with a more personalized story
- Provide a clear picture of the cost, effort, ease, and risks involved with deployment and what that experience will look like for your team.
- Define a long-term view on how their solution can stay relative to your needs through its entire life cycle – which, in some cases, can mean 10-years+
We provide this type of help to our clients every day. So, if the problem that you’re trying to solve surrounds managing your business’ assets, contact us. Our mobilePLUS solution might be what you need. We’ll take you through the steps above to ensure you’re armed with the information you need to solve your problem.