It's All About the Data

It's All About the Data
It's All About the Data

Monday, October 28, 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 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, PMP, is Director of Consulting at Ideate, Inc. (  David's experience is in providing companies with business process analysis and change implementation.  @dhaynestech.

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