Is The Problem Worth Solving?

Jun 8, 2020

How many times have you seen businesses dive head-first into a project without first validating the true impact of the problem on the business?  There are few things more frustrating as trying to solve a problem that nobody can articulate.  And of course, the typical result of ineffectual decision making is that projects either burn cash by taking too long to get started, or worse still, they kick-start a project that doesn’t have the support of the business.

Initiating a project shouldn’t be that hard.  Decision making around whether a project washes its face and therefore, whether it’s worthwhile spending more time and money, should take days not weeks!

Validation is about doing the right projects at the right time and delivering maximum business value from scarce and finite resources.  We keep this process simple at Luminate by asking these four questions:

  1. Is this a problem worth solving? If your business stakeholders aren’t in enough pain and the business disruption from the project outweighs the value being delivered, then stop right there.
  2. Does the project have the support of the key stakeholders?  By that I mean from people in the business who have the ability to influence, challenge or ultimately stop the project.
  3. Does the solution being proposed solve the business problem?  The problem might exist, but does the solution deliver the vision being proposed by the sponsor.
  4. And lastly, does everyone involved understand the cost to deliver the project and are they willing to foot the bill?  In other words, do they believe that this project is the best bang for their buck?

Validation doesn’t need to be an onerous and time-consuming activity.  By bringing together key stakeholders for only one or two sessions, you will quickly establish whether it either makes no sense to progress, or that the size of the prize is worthwhile investing more time and money to complete a more detailed business case.

Up front validation doesn’t guarantee project success, but it does get you off to the best possible start.