In the article, Orient: Navigating the Initial Phase of a Task Stage 1 – ORIENT, of Gasparotto Group’s framework for the Planning and Execution of projects was outlined. This article will discuss the second stage – THINK.
In this stage, the information and results from the orientation process are taken to a much deeper level and options to solve the problem are developed. The planning team thinks through and identifies risks, barriers, opportunities, and contingencies that formulate or influence a potential solution to the problem we are solving or task we have been given to complete. Gasparotto Group’s THINK stage has seven steps:
- Receive an Execution Instruction. This can be called many names (i.e. Orders, Implementation Directive, Project Charter, etc). Gasparotto Group’s framework uses the term Execution Instruction. The Execution Instruction provides all the detail necessary for all stakeholders to plan and execute their respective roles in the task.
- Complete the 10-Question Exploration. This is a series of questions that enables us to probe into the solution space regarding the task, project, or problem, we have been given. It is a deeper and more comprehensive look at the information and results from ORIENT, including any information received in the Execution Instruction. Each question is designed to pull out additional key insights, enabling us to categorize the information in a logical and easy-to-interpret manner. The 10 questions are outlined here: 10 Questions.
- Develop Options. Armed with all of the deductions and insights from the previous steps of the Planning & Execution Framework, we can now formulate a number of options for achieving the task, project, or problem. Avoid the natural tendency to bias towards a single solution at this early stage, and develop a minimum of two (preferably more) differing options. Add some depth into each potential solution option, in order to provide a sufficiently complete picture of the option that may be compared and evaluated later.
- Evaluate Options. Here we weigh the risks, opportunities, advantages, and disadvantages each option presents. The options are weighed using a few relevant factors. Relevant refers to the specific mission criteria or outcomes. For example: which is the most effective? Which is the most efficient use of resources? Which is the least expensive? Which has the lowest residual risk? Options are evaluated based on their respective merits in order to determine which offers the best chance of success.
- Choose Recommendation. Once the options have been evaluated, one of them needs to be recommended, typically this is to a person or board with the overall authority to approve a course of action. This can be done several ways, our framework uses the “Decision Brief” to solicit approval and support.
- Deliver the Decision Brief. The decision brief is a tool that allows the key aspects of the analysis completed, along with potential solution options, to be presented to the individual, or board, who has the overall decision-making authority. It draws material conceived from all preceding steps and consolidates it into a single presentation. The decision brief culminates in the presentation of solution options that have developed, along with a recommendation on how to proceed. The outcome of a decision brief is a selected option, along with any other direction or guidance the approving authority offers.
- Deliver Initial Instructions. The THINK stage has generated a detailed analysis of the situation. Development, evaluation, selection, and approval of options has been completed. The final step is to provide initial guidance and direction to your team so they can now initiate their own planning process and orient themselves to their pending task.
With Stage 2 –THINK now complete, detailed planning can now begin. Stage 3 – PLAN of Gasparotto Group’s framework for the Planning and Execution and will be presented in a subsequent article.