November 4, 2013

Big Red Button vs. Elephant Eating

When a consultant is asked how to solve a business problem, the customer/client is often interested in an over-arching, one big button solution.

This approach has two problems:

  • Trying to solve problems with the 'big answer' denies an improvement  loop, both by the consultant and by the process itself. 
  • It is very hard to solve any problem with just one answer.
There is an old saying "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time". It is really true. So what are the key elements:
  •  Start with baby steps. This is the one bite at a time to eat an elephant.  One of the advantages most overlooked is that this method (a stepped approach) reduces anxiety those affected by the change will feel. 
  •  Adjustments can be made.  If everything is defined, and set in stone, the implementation team (consultant and customer) will be reluctant to modify the process.
  • But the key issue is:
                      CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT

Continuous improvement is one of the main tenets of lean thinking, lean services, etc. W. Edward Deming, pioneer in the field of Lean, proposed that feedback from a process and customers must be evaluated against goals. This feed-back loop allows for course adjustment, realignment, and even discovery of a different problem statement. With feedback, a better process is possible.

Eat the elephant one bite at a time and provide feedback of each bite.

David Haynes, NCARB, PMP, LEED AP
Ideate Director of Consulting

David is a Registered Architect, Project Management Certified Professional, who previously had his own architectural practice and was President of a commercial design-build construction company for 15 years. A graduate of University of Arizona, he has worked as an Architect, contractor, developer and as a national construction manager for a national retailer. David currently provides business process analysis, virtualization and change management solutions for AEC clients across the United States involved in the design and building industry. Follow David on Twitter: @dhaynestech 

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This post was originally published on David’s blog Connecting the [Data]…