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Is your primary pain point prioritising pain points?

Here’s a matrix we use to identify the pain points to kill first.

Every organisation has its challenges. Pain points, tensions, inefficiencies, missed opportunities, call them what you like – they are the stumbling blocks between where you are currently and where you wish your company would go. The most successful and productive organisations have many pain points too but what sets them apart is that they can identify, prioritise, and then eliminate these pain points faster and more efficiently. How do they know where to start? What do they tackle first? We’ve got a few solutions we can share with you. The temptation is usually to focus on the tension that makes the most noise right now, the one that is most talked about, and while that’s important and might still be the one you tackle first, it’s crucial to have an equation that gets you to the right one to start with every time. The Discovery Phase To get to the crux of your organisation’s pain points you will always need to go through a discovery phase. This can look like a workshop, interviews, immersion, research, or a design thinking deep dive. Basically, any process that brings any dark spots into the light. When we are assisting with the process, we like to interview stakeholders, launch surveys, and use tools like a tension cards exercise to reveal some of the lowlights and highlights.

The Kaleidoscope Design Sprint - Part 1-3

We then use all the voices and collective data to get to where we need to be. This is the diagnostic phase of the process. Systematically, we unpack the findings. All the ‘well-dones’ and ‘gold stars’ and figure out how to keep those ongoing. We don’t want to drop the ball on what is working. Only then do we suggest targeting the pain points and put them in the priority matrix. It helps to identify what needs to be tackled first. Weighing up the pain points Any good consultancy will take you through a process of determining and assessing pain points but it’s not a one size fits all. Every business is unique and will have its own tensions, many of which will require varying methodologies to find solutions.

TRADE-OFF's - Where does each Tension sit and what is the weighting we give to them

There is no set scoring process, no fixed criteria to determine the weighting of pain points for all organisations. The weighting will have to be determined by your teams. They will know what a quick win might be, which pain point could take the shortest time to solve or whether the problem can be solved via automation. More about this later.

The Customer/Business Value Matrix

No more knee-jerking or pandering to the pain point that is the loudest or the most shiny and new. Pain points should be valued from 1 to 10 in terms of priority.

There is a system that should stick to – a system that works: We suggest the Customer/Business Value Matrix.

If you look at the diagram (see below), you will see that the matrix consists of four quadrants intersected by two graphs, each ranging from low value to high value. The matrix illustrates four piles that pain points should be separated into depending on their value to the business, the customer or both.

The 4 Value Quadrants

Once you have ranked your pain points from 1 to 10, you should separate them into four piles to identify their order of priority.

Prioritisation Matrix Example

Quadrant 1 is the pile of pain points that would be of high value to both the customer and the business if solutions are found. These should be done first.

Quadrant 2 is the pain point pile that would benefit the business most but not the customers as much. These should be tackled next.

Quadrant 3 would be most beneficial to only the customers, in terms of value. These can be addressed when you have time.

Quadrant 4’s pain point pile would provide value to neither the customer nor the business. These aren’t worth the effort.

Ideally, pain points should be prioritised based on how long they would take to fix (shorter the better, obviously), how easy they would be to implement (quick wins), and if the solution process can be automated.

Tension Cards : Adapted from the OS Canvas by The Ready

You’ve now ranked your tensions and you have a good idea on which one to start with and which ones to prioritize to tackle later. This should already give you some relief on the tensions that sometimes could look like a mountain in front of you. And we all know what we do when a mountain looks too big to climb, we end up building around it and not on top of it… or we avoid it completely.

Okay… what now?

Now you have your problem to solve how do you get a solution? Here many people would rely on Dr Google to give them an answer. You probably could find an answer on the oracle of search engines but again: Is this going to be the right answer for your organisation? Is it going to deliver the long-term sustainability you need?

Here is where the blend of methodologies and tools come in to assist you to build the answer. Betty on our team recently wrote an article about the benefits of a blended approach and why combining methodologies is important. This is an answer we believe every organisation should use when creating solutions to complex business problems.

If you want to work with us to find out how we can implement any of this priority pain point process into your business, that’s what we are here for.

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