People access, use and rely on KM systems to solve problems. We can break problems into three distinct and fairly easily considered buckets.
The three are simply new, variation and known problem. While they may be exotic types of problems that are as of yet in the new bucket but not part of a new problem to date those three work very easily in classifying problems. Once you determine which bucket you are facing you then reach into your DLM© system. But notice that variations of existing problems and known problems start at the bottom of the system with known solutions. The new problem starts at the top with the SME. The SME may tell you your new problem is actually a known issue being worked on by another group. So while the problem is new to you, it is known by the organization or group.
This is a very simply diagram showing the complexity and reality of problems. There are also scales by which we measure the “difficulty” of the problem and of course our good friend time raises its hand as well saying some problems must be solved in X time period. Time creates a funnel forcing the reduction of time you have to consider options. That’s why the new problem starts with the SME at the top of the knowledge system, you aren’t sorting through a large number of options and actions.
Going back to our OODA Loop base, we know that if time is our orientation, our actions have less available flexibility (wiggle room- my personal favorite). That said, the wrong action taken because of time pressure can also cause massive impact. So while time is the issue, we still have to evaluate the overall impact of the problem first.
Time critical problems aren’t always new problems as well. Sometimes they are variations and actually known problems. One of the feedback loops in the system that we will add is that of value over time. Value over time is simply a way for us to denote how quickly a specific solution worked. A great example of this is a machine with an oil leak. You notice the smoke and smell the odor of burning oil which causes you to fix the engine. You fix the engine ending the leak but don’t wipe up the already leaked oil so the overall original problem (smell) remains. The fix worked but the cleanup of the fix wasn’t effective as it could have been (when done with leak wipe up excess oil)!
Difficulty is the other addition that may cause additional time delays and other considerations when approaching the solution. Take that engine above that we just solved the engine leak for. This time the engine itself is not in an open space but is actually crammed into a corner or boxed into a space. Much harder to get to, we know the fix and solution but getting to the applications is actually more difficult. Our known fix says this takes 1 hour, but we know because of the position of our specific engine we should make that two hours. We now taking the difficulty and potential time constraints add the new option of replacing the engine completely and repairing it off-line rather than in the actual system.
Time and difficulty change problems. Using the DLM© system and John Boyd’s OODA Loops it’s critical that we build feedback loops for difficulty and for time. One for the two combined of course as well.
I am not a graphic artist!