Friday, April 13, 2007

Hey, that calls for a CATWOE!

Kitty Cat
Originally uploaded by zeddyorg.
I great post at LifeHack about a problem solving tool:
CATWOE is a method for expanding your thinking about a problem or situation before you zero in on a specific problem that you want to solve.

Customers: Who are they, and how does the issue affect them?

Actors: Who is involved in the situation? Who will be involved in implementing solutions? And what will impact their success?

Transformation Process: What processes or systems are affected by the issue?

World View: What is the big picture? And what are the wider impacts of the issue?

Owner: Who owns the process or situation you are investigating? And what role will they play in the solution?

Environmental: Constraints What are the constraints and limitations that will impact the solution and its success?

The idea is that before attempting to resolve a problem, you run through the CATWOE checklist so you’re not fixing one thing but potentially letting something else go wrong.
Read all about it at the source, MindTools.

Monday, April 02, 2007

How to get things done

Patrick Star, Getting Things Done
Originally uploaded by gordasm.
Doug Sundheim at Fast Companies Expert Blogs suggests most of us need to simplify through focus. He notes
Simplicity isn't simple. Complexity is simple. Anyone can make something complex. Read the front page of any newspaper. You'll find complex problems everywhere. Look into your own life. You'll find complex forces at play. Complexity is the natural state of things. Sophistication lies in your ability to SIMPLIFY complexity. It lies in your ability to make sense of the world around you. You can't do everything. Understand what's important and what's not. Pick your focus and act.
Mr. Sundheim offers this daily strategy to help maintain focus.
  1. Write down your objectives for the next year.

  2. Identify the 3-5 primary buckets in which you spend your day (might be Admin, Development, Production, & Personal for instance).

  3. Write down active tasks in each bucket.

  4. Prioritize each list.

  5. Consult your objectives and pick the top 3 tasks across all buckets.

  6. Each day bring yourself back to them when you get off course.
Repeat daily.

Simple, eh? Sure. But it's all about the execution, as we all know.