In a previous post I talked about the tools we setup for our new business. This time I want to approach that topic from the other side, discussing my process and how those tools, and some others I didn’t discuss before, fit into that process. My process consists of 3 main steps broken down into 12 total sub-steps, here is the first main step:
Step One – Do the Right Preparation
Make as few plans as possible before starting - I do most of my planning in my head with a sketch or two to help me work on ideas. Having fewer plans means you are less likely to get attached to any one way of solving a problem and puts the problem solving where it should be – in the creation phase instead of the preparation phase. This also works for me because I do smaller projects with fewer people. I do all the early versions of a project and then bring others in when I have enough created to have a discussion around.
The simplest of tools will work for this – I usually use eraseable crayon on a window for a dry-erase-like experience but a pencil and paper do just as well.
Understand the problem as well possible before starting - You can’t possibly know everything about the problem you are trying to solve before you start on the solution, but you should have a good handle on what it is. It is very easy to start trying to solve the problem before you know anything about it. Usually in these cases you will start with a solution to a problem you’ve seen before and not quite address the needs of the current problem. While your experience can be greatly beneficial it can also be a hindrance. If you don’t explicitly avoid it, you will try to solve every problem the same way.
The only tools for this part of the process are good questions, good listening, and a lot of time to think, both consciously and unconsciously.