Step 4: Work out solution alternatives
Now it's about lighting a fantasy fireworks. If you have some ideas, you should fix them in writing.
Describe central thoughts
Try to describe the central idea in a few words. For the further process, it is useful if you give the individual alternatives also meaningful short names, such as "savings option" or "Japanese solution".
When setting up alternative solutions, always include the "zero variant" as well: So think about what would happen if you did not do anything undertake.
Make a preselection
Managers are often forced to act, but overlook the fact that it may be a wise decision to do nothing. Mind you, this may or may not be the case.
Before you decide for the further development of an idea, you should make a preselection. Use knock-out criteria: Which conditions must the solution in any case meet? So you already check at this point, if an idea would be suitable for the implementation.
Step 5: Choose an alternative
To solve complex problems, a simple decision matrix is not enough, because it is assumed that all criteria are equally important. In the case of the evaluated decision matrix, on the other hand, you must additionally assign a weighting to the individual criteria. To do this, first create a decision matrix.
However, for each alternative you add two more columns in which you weight the individual criteria on a percentage basis. Criteria that are more significant receive a higher percentage than the less important ones. As you suspect, all weights must add up to 100 percent.
What is important to you?
To find out what the "normal" importance value is, you must divide 100 by the number of criteria; with four criteria, these would be 25. Criteria that are above average are thus given more than 25 percent weighting.
The value for each criterion is now calculated by multiplying the respective score by the weighting. Then add up again for each alternative all points. The evaluated decision matrix can produce entirely different results than with a simple, unweighted matrix.
Alternatives probe with the CAF method
If you have further problems, you should not and should not just rely on your feelings. This is where the CAF method ("Consider all facts") helps, in which as many influencing factors as possible are used for a decision. The principle is banal: you list all the points that have something to do with your problem, such as:
- the cost or the price / performance ratio,
- the time required,
- the effect on customers or
- the acceptance by employees.
Which alternative is best suited?
You can then use this list to determine which of the alternative alternatives is best suited. The advantage of this method is that all decision-making factors can be seen at a glance, due to the written form.
When creating your criteria list, a factor should of course never be missing: the feasibility. After all, what is the best idea when it is difficult or difficult to implement it?
Step 6: Set up an action plan
Once you have made a decision, you are now ready to implement it. Depending on the complexity of the problem and the scope of the solution alternatives, you should now create an action plan.
Whether you call it the so-called project plan or the to-do list is not decisive, but rather the fact that you plan the individual tasks and steps of the problem solution in terms of time, money and personnel. So, determine who is doing what and when.
Step 7: Check the results
Assuming that you are not only responsible for finding a solution, but also implementing it, perhaps the longest part of the mission, namely the continuous monitoring of work progress, may begin: if the measures set out in the Action Plan are actually completed in the defined time and quality ?
One last tip: ask yourself after completing the problem-solving process: what went well, what bad? What can I learn for the future? Has the effort paid off? Perfect your problem-solving skills by critically analyzing your work.
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