I have recently been running some workshops using a very simple technique. It’s not new, and it is not particularly clever. But it is simple and it does work.
The “How Diagram” is a simple concept. For each agreed objective you list all the possible “how can we do this”. The result is a long list of possible tasks which individually or cumulatively will explain “how we will do this” and ostensibly provide a menu of “how this can be done”.
A simple example:
Objective: I want to run a marathon in 4 hours
How? Get used to running distance.
How? Run every day.
How? Wake early and go for a run, no matter how short or long
How? Set alarm clock for 5:30am to wake and be ready
How? Prepare the night before and go to bed early
The above forms a logical chain of tasks: A, then B, then C, then D etc
Of course, there may be many, many chains that cumulatively and incrementally help achieve a marathon in 4 hours from flexibility, fitness, diet, time, commitment, training buddies, good shoes, a training plan. For each of these there may be a logical chain of tasks: A, then B, then C, then D etc.
Every one of these can be broken into simple “how would I do this” steps. With this type of simple easy-to-do approach success is as simple as following a recipe. Whilst this is not a guarantee, such an approach significantly improves the probability of success.
I have been using this as a tool for industry consultation and it is rewarding to see the wide variety of different means to achieving the shared objectives.
Each separate chain of tasks (A, then B, then C, then D etc.) is evaluated for time, cost, resource, risk, feasibility, suitability and acceptability.
We also separate “quick wins” from “big -slower- wins” and the urgent (time critical) from important (strategically critical). So we can see which sequences of tasks are easy or hard, cheap or expensive, easy or hard to deploy and examine which are likely to have the best effect.
None of this is new, but I had such good feedback I thought I would share.
Comments and suggestions (including other tools, approaches and experiences) are always welcome.
MBA (Management Consulting) Projects & Change Practitioner,