Stop solving problems

Businesses constantly talk about things they want to be doing, people do this too. I refer to these as potential projects, perhaps it would be better to think of them as prospective investments.

Occasionally organizations and individuals are thoughtful enough to at least identify a problem they would like to solve. But that’s usually the extent of justifying why the project would be worthwhile. We have a problem, let’s solve it!

And everything thereafter is focused on the specifics of how to solve the problem. Those that like big upfront design, start creating checklists, requirements, specifications, etc. Those that have at least realized that excessive upfront planning is often wasteful, just get started doing the first thing that comes to mind.

Nobody takes the time to ask why the problem is worth solving. Why is it a problem? What would solving it be worth? Are there other more important problems, or perhaps more important investments to make? How do we prioritize this? What would be the impact on employees, customers, the organization? What could be the financial impact? What about other intangible benefits?

Just because you have a problem doesn’t mean it’s worth solving.

Just because you have a problem doesn’t mean it’s worth solving. In fact, from over a decade of history looking at problems, I would go so far as to say most problems aren’t worth solving because no due diligence has been done to even determine if the problem is worth solving.

What problems are you working on right now? Can you list the top three reasons why one of them is worth solving?