Project Management

Solutions Development

last edited by: erin decaprio on Oct 7, 2006 6:34 PM login/register to edit this page

1 Applications
2 Procedures
3 Instructions
4 Example

A technique used to take a set of brainstormed and categorized ideas and develop a consolidated solution set to enable reengineering.

Brainstormed ideas are only ideas, some of which may or may not be used to provide a total reengineering solution. The purpose of applying this technique is to identify the critical areas that need further exploration and to develop a set of research and confirmation activities. This technique is used, in conjunction with brainstorming and positive Ishikawa diagramming, to focus the enterprise change team on reengineering the activity work flow and to ultimately recommend a total solution. (See Brainstorming, Idea Qualification, Ishikawa Diagramming and Work Flow Diagramming.)

Please note that during the exploration of breakthrough ideas and throughout the development of solutions, project team members should maintain confidentiality and secrecy to avoid problems that could occur if some of the radical ideas being considered "slip out" prior to the development of a real solution.


  • To determine follow-up research and confirmation activities required to develop an idea into a proposed solution.
  • To weed out competing ideas (or to identify alternative paths) prior to developing the new activity work flow.


  1. Complete the qualification of all brainstormed ideas.
  2. Identify questions or issues regarding each candidate idea/solution.
  3. Examine competing ideas and determine possible alternatives.
  4. Rally the team around a core set of ideas.
  5. Assign research and confirmation activities.
  6. Proceed with the development of the new activity work flow.
  7. Examine results of the research and confirmation activities.
  8. Develop final set of solutions.


After qualifying all ideas generated during an "explore breakthrough" brainstorming session (see Idea Qualification), examine each of the ideas to determine:

  • what "management" would want to know about the application of this idea
  • what "operational" stakeholders would need to know
  • what "social" implications or impacts the idea presented
  • what "technical" staff need to know to plan for implementation and support.
In addition, identify any issues or concerns that need to be researched and resolved prior to final solutions development. Issues typically include aspects of:

Use Brainstorming or a similar technique (e.g., Nominal Group Technique can be particularly useful) to examine each idea and generate a list of questions. The intent is not quantity, but to question quality and relevance. (This is just the opposite from the traditional application of brainstorming, but this is paramount to focus solutions development activities.) Use questioning techniques to focus and word the questions/issues into meaningful statements. Maintain a list, using an issue tracker (see Issue Tracking).

All managerial, operational, social, and technical (MOST) concerns should be explored. Be sure to identify any "sacred cows," those remnants of the current situation that create barriers to change, and identify potential strategies to overcome them. Also determine which of these solution development questions would be relevant for conducting a benchmarking survey (see Benchmarking). Assign project team members to each of the subsequent research and confirmation activities.

If there are competing ideas and/or ideas that provide alternative opportunities, explore them with the team, and determine whether the team can rally around one core set of ideas, or whether each alternative needs to be explored and examined. Failure to rally the team around one core set of ideas will increase the research workload and cause more time to be taken to develop the new activity work flow. Proceed knowingly.

Before developing new work flows and conducting research and confirmation activities, confirm that the set of proposed ideas (solutions in development) cover all customer needs, customer satisfiers, and root causes (see Mapping, Customer Satisfier Analysis, and Root Cause Analysis). As information is collected to address each of the issues and to provide answers to the questions, hone the set of ideas into a consolidated set of solutions.

Document the solutions, using a solutions tracker or summary table, and complete the information shown in the example below, after all information is made available. Use the completed table to enable development of transition strategies.


stakeholder analysis

last edited by: erin decaprio on Oct 7, 2006 6:34 PM login/register to edit this page


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