So What? Asking the relevance of information gets people to really think
about how the information affects their work and the company results. Here is one example of “So What?” using a
Headscratcher: How do you increase the certainty of hitting
a strategically important product development schedule?
schedules are highly
dependent upon the people working on the project. A team of competent and sufficient talent
can dramatically improve the ability to overcome unexpected issues that arise
in a project.
when Human Resources issues
a report about the average employee
attrition rate. Let’s say that your
department or division has a 12% attrition rate. So What? Well statistically, if 25 people are
working on the project, then 3 people will leave within a year.
Acting on the “So
What?”. One choice for this example is to ignore the “So
What?”, and deal with employee attrition when it happens. This will mean training a replacement,
that generally translates directly into $’s, and worse, slipped schedules. Or
you can do something about it.
Capacity. The “So What?” response to
employee attrition is to implement a work strategy so when attrition occurs
it has minimal impact. Here is one
strategy. When a project runs into trouble, you can
ask your folks to put in extra effort to get it done. However if they are already working at 120%,
there is no capacity left. Instead, plan
your projects with your people resources at the 80% capacity level. In this way there is energy and capacity available
to step up when needed,
One way to
implement this plan, is to have a subset of people who work on the project
share their time with other projects.
For example, 80% of their time on the strategically important project
and 20% on lower priority projects … still important to the company, but able
to sustain a change in deliverable time. In this way, when someone leaves the top
project, you can immediately increase resources by reducing the efforts on
some of the lower priority projects.
The team members stay the same, extra “people capacity” is available
to fill the gap, and there is minimal to no impact on the project.
The Takeaway: Asking “So What?” turns data
into actionable information. “So
What?” gets people thinking about what data they are collecting and how
it affects their department and the company.
“So What?” helps to eliminate unnecessary reports and
encourages people to be more aware of the impact of changes and the drivers
of the business. “So What?” can
guide discussions that will ensure your “Key Metrics” are truly the ones you
should be tracking, giving you the time to alter a course for the better.
LLC: Critical Thinking Techniques for
We enhance the
problem solving skills of people, resulting in more innovative and
successful solutions. We do this by
combining the cognitive skills that people already possess, with building
blocks such as logic, invention and leadership. We specialize in the application of this
process towards Product, Services and Operational challenges and partner with
you to solve these business Headscratchers.
Contact us at www.headscratchers.com.
Previous editions of Headscratcher Posts at The Headscratcher
Post - Archives.
The Next edition – “Key Metrics”
Thanks for reading this edition. We
would like your feedback,
so if you care to give it to us, please press “Feedback”.