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We understand sense-making as a fundamental component to start the transformation journey. The risk of starting with a wrong problem definition or a wrong solution approach can jeopardise the complete project and hence we recommend to spend sufficient time and resources on a robust foundation to start rallying stakeholders around.

The Challenge

Any kind of sufficiently complex problem will be hard to grasp. There is often no alignment in the organisation what the 'real' problem is and different stakeholders tend to disagree on prioritisation, what needs to be fixed or who is responsible. It is difficult to align all stakeholders from within the organisation as a neutral arbiter is missing. This often leads to the wrong problem being selected. Even if the correct problem was selected, an evolved understanding and changes in the environment may make a refocussing down the project necessary.

From our experience with client projects, we find that one of the earliest obstacles to a successful project starts with the procurement process. It's a chicken and egg problem, where the problem will need to be defined sufficiently precise to engage outside support, but often outside support is needed to arrive at a robust problem definition. After all, if the exact nature of the problem would be known, the problem could be resolved with existing resources.

The Consequences

Too often the initial problem description doesn't get challenged and over time the sunk cost of revisiting if the original problem is still a good fit get bigger over time. In the best case, the project might solve a problem that's not really relevant, in the worst case the uncertainty around what problem is to be solved for what purpose wastes a lot of energy and goodwill in the rest of the organisation.

Change projects will need to create a sense of urgency and eventually need to demonstrate the positive outcome of the change journey. Working on the wrong problem means that resources will get wasted, buy in squandered and objectives will be missed.

Our Approach

We drive detailed and specific understanding of the problem, the root cause, the organisation and environment in which the problem needs to be solved and the main and side effects of any solution helps to create clarity among the people involved. This involves a lot of listening, asking question and confirming the understanding of involved stakeholders. The aim is to align all stakeholders on the fundamentals to avoid wasting time and energy on misunderstood objectives.

Having seen a number of successful and unsuccessful transformations, we quickly realise human and technology patterns that could derail the change journey. Understanding the intended and unintended consequences of a solution will allow us to design solid approaches that are sustainable within your organisation.