Magazine article Technology & Learning

Solving Problems Together

Magazine article Technology & Learning

Solving Problems Together

Article excerpt

Any CTO will tell you it's important to have handy answers when others ask questions. The question is, where do you go to find those answers? How do you keep the ideas front and center in everyone's mind, and how do you ensure that they don't become your crusade alone?

Here is one imperfect approach, as well as some pitfalls and how to avoid them.

1. Gather together stakeholders who agree that a problem exists that needs resolution.

2. State that the goal of the meeting is to define the problem as clearly as possible, and seek input from as many stakeholders as possible ahead of time.

3. Clarify the problem, forestalling any rush to solutions. Any solutions offered should serve to help clarify the desired features in the solution that will be identified later--not as the end all. The goal is to get everyone to flesh out the issues.

4. Your role as meeting facilitator is not to run the process or be the leader or expert. Allow yourself to be the learner, asking questions and honestly seeking perspectives from others.

5. Decide who will facilitate the meetings, set the schedule, and keep track of who-will-do-what-by-when, etc. This is more important than you might imagine. No meeting is effective unless the who-will-do-what-by-when is properly addressed.

6. Encourage people to voice their fears and concerns about the process, the problem, and how it's been framed or set up, as well as the solution finding and implementation process. This is about dialogue and keeping everyone being honest with each other. …

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