Jul 29 2018

Business First, Solutions Last

Too often, people become confused with what they are actually trying to accomplish. This especially occurs in business. Non-optimal (or completely incorrect) solutions result in loss of time, money, and opportunity. How can one navigate their attention and conversations to what matters?

Start with listening.

Determine your goal in business terms, not technical terms. "I will create a react app" is the wrong answer. "A ruby on rails website" is the wrong answer. "Sending an SMS message" is the wrong answer. These can be solutions, but they do not imply business value. Listen to your client to gain understanding for what they need.

One of my freelance clients needed to optimize how they gather applications. After sorting paper applications for years, they understood this could no longer scale. Again, "I will create a react app" or "I will create a rails project" should not be decided with haste. Take a hot minute to actually think.

The problem is: "I need to optimize the gathering of applications." Understand the workflows of your customer. Know which applications they use on a daily basis. Is there a way to integrate with one of these? What devices do they use? laptops, tablets, smartphones? How does the client perceive an effective optimization?

Don't jump to the first technical solution. Use creative thinking. You can develop solutions that are far more optimal when you put your mind to the task.

Through conversation, I discovered:

The solution consisted of:

The result? My clients amazed with the succinct solution. It was also quick to write -- saving them lots of money.

I'll leave you with a semi-related dharma lesson of Noelle Oxenhandler.

Rather than resist our resistance, we can allow ourselves to explore it in intimate detail, like a bug traveling across a flower, petal by petal. Examined at close range and without judgment, each form of resistance reveals its own rich texture.