Size framing

smartangle newsletter · Jun 2021

Have you ever asked yourself how big is your problem? Did you ever try to look till where it extends? This is the very first step to understand your problem with our 8 steps approach to problem framing.

In our last newsletter we shared our point of view on problem framing, and what are the issues the most of teams could face in understanding it in the best and most comprehensive way.

We love the piece of advice from Einstein, who said: 

If I had an hour to solve a problem, I'd spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.

This is way, today, we would like to start a short journey, with our 8 steps approach to frame a problem with a set of games that we would encourage any team to use.

This very first step is related with the understanding on how big is the problem. By experience we can easily state that one of the main issues with problem framing is that you do not recognise its boundaries.

Indeed, the question with which we are going to challenge you is: do you really know how big is your problem?

We are pretty sure that very few of you did ask such question in a problem framing exercise. Therefore, we would like to spread the word and let more and more teams to use such approach in understanding their problem.

What we have designed and engineered at smartangle, in collaboration with ain’t a GAME*, is not rocket science, of course, nor very complex thinking. We have created a robust framework, at the basis, and a sort of a guideline process to help your team in correctly framing a problem.

Size framing

The size framing of a problem is aiming to understanding how big is your problem, indeed.

When analysing a problem, you need to understand what are the boundaries of the problem itself, and how much extended it is.

The first step you have to do is to think about the problem, and try to understand if there are other roles that could be involved.

The second step needs to analyse till how many levels above and below you the problem extends.

For instance, if you have issues with a specific product in the production line, it might well be that your problem is linked to the engineering team, maybe with the R&D one, and the logistics team as well.

This means that there are three more roles involved and “touched” by the problem: 1) an product engineer; 2) a product development specialist; and 3) a logistics  manager.

Maybe, if it is a problem of supply, there will be even more roles involved: 4) the supply chain manager; 5) the supplier (or sales manager at suppliers), and you name it.

But it could also well be that your engineering and R&D teams will be touched till the top, meaning till the head of engineering, or the lead engineer, or the R&D manager. This also means that the problem goes higher in the hierarchy. It can also go below you, meaning till the designer, or the technical specialist.

Does it make sense?

Well, now you are ready for the final touch. If you have figured out these roles and the level till where the problem extends, you can easily visualise these two dimensions on an XY plane and understand how big is your problem.

Remember, this is just the first step to better understand your problem, therefore, you shall not stop here, but keep reading our blog to know more about the next steps.

Stay tuned for more insights!

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