Systematic Innovation @ IIBA

International Institute of Business Analysis – 7/8/2021

Improving Problem-Solving with Matrix Analysis

What is the problem?

What is the problem with problem definition?

Let’s consider a few of the problems. Sometimes we are encouraged to compress this step and proceed with development of a solution before adequately defining the problem. Sometimes we do not know when we are done — when we’ve arrived at an objective and unambiguous definition. The format of our definition is often not optimal for collaboration either internally among team members or externally with other groups/stakeholders; integration with design activity can be especially problematic. The format may not illuminate the most significant aspect of the problem, or guide the solution in the most valuable direction. The format is typically not suitable for evaluating a particular initiative across a portfolio of opportunities.

Can we improve our approach to problem definition?

We will explore an approach to problem definition that amplifies product/service value and accelerates the development cycle.

Learning Objectives

  • Reinforce the rationale of a “problem-first” culture and mindset
  • Understand the nature of a contradiction — a particular type of problem that represents opposing forces
  • Understand how to use matrix analysis for framing business problems as contradictions
  • Understand how solving a contradiction relates to customer value and competitive advantage
  • Understand how to use this format as a common language for conducting portfolio analysis of multiple initiatives across various domains
  • Understand how to extend this method from problem definition to opportunity identification