“After every storm the sun will smile; for every problem there is a solution, and the soul’s indefeasible duty is to be of good cheer.” – William R. Alger
After your team generated solutions for the problem, the next step is to select one or more solutions from the possibilities. The team has to do a final analysis to come up with one or more of the best solutions to the problem. This blog discusses that final analysis, as well as a tool for selecting a solution called Paired Comparison Analysis. It also discusses analyzing potential problems that may arise with a selected solution.
Doing a Final Analysis
For each potential solution, the team must weigh the potential advantages and disadvantages. They need to consider the compatibility with the priorities and values of the team. Consider how much risk the solution involves. Finally, the team must consider the practicality of the solution. The team may find it helpful to create a map for each solution that addresses all of the relevant issues.
Consider the potential results of each solution, both the immediate results and the long-term possibilities.
In the final analysis, the team will refine their short list and keep re-refining it until they determine the most effective solution.
Paired Comparison Analysis
The Paired Comparison Analysis tool is a method of prioritizing a small number of workable solutions. The first step for using this tool is to list all of the possible solutions. Label each potential solution with a letter or number.
Next, compare the solutions in pairs. Decide only between those two which solution is preferable. Assign a number to indicate the strength of the preference for each option. For example, problem solvers could assign a “3” to items they strongly prefer, a “2” to a moderate preference, or a “1” to a mild preference.
This first round continues two at a time until all of the solutions are ranked. Then all the ranks are added together to obtain a priority score for each item. The top score is the preferred solution.
Analyzing Potential Problems
The team must think forward to the solution implementation. They need to ask how, when, who, what, and where in relation to implementing the solution. Does the imagined future state with this problem solution match the desired state developed earlier in the process?
Brainstorm for potential problems related to the solution. Consider how likely potential problems might occur and how serious they are. These potential issues can then be evaluated by the team as needs and wants along with the other criteria for evaluating the solution.
Sometimes this analysis can uncover a potential hardship or opportunity that changes the criteria, problem definition, or other aspects of the problem solving process.