# 80/20 Problem Solver

The 80/20 Problem Solver uses the power of the 80/20 rule (a.k.a pareto principle or 80/20 principle) to prioritize the actions required to solve a problem - getting the maximum result from the least effort.

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This is a deceptively powerful tool, useful for solving both the simplest and hardest of problems, and is suitable for individuals through to the largest corporations.

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The tool starts by allowing up to 10 possible solutions to the problem. The key is to run wild and propose any solutions at all - the more varied the solutions the better. This is great in a team environment, since it encourages lateral thinking, and any idea is acceptable,

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The analysis then begins.

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The first step is to use drag and drop techniques to rank the possible solutions as to how well they solve the problem. Our sole focus is this one factor - "How well does it solve the problem?"

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The second step is to rank the proposed solutions on how easy or hard they are to implement.

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These factors are often unique to your situation - particular solutions may require special people, lots of money, access to specific resources and technology, changes to corporate policies, a long implementation timeframe, and so forth. Your rankings will be different from another person with the exact same problem, since it depends on your access to the necessary resources.

Finally, the 80/20 Problem Solver maps these solutions onto a 2 x 2 grid labelled 'Impact' and 'Ease', and creates four classes of action:

HIGH IMPACT, EASY TO DO: These are your top priorities since they make the most progress towards the goal for the least effort.

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HIGH IMPACT, HARD TO DO: These have possibilities, but we need to figure out an easier way to do them.

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LOW IMPACT, EASY TO DO: Makes you feel good, but ultimately there is little to show for your efforts, so why do them.

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LOW IMPACT, HARD TO DO: Says it all - just plain dumb.

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The smart thing to do is to focus on the things that have a big impact and a relatively easy to do - the low hanging fruit.

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This tool is a fantastic way of encouraging teamwork, since there is freedom to propose solutions, and at the same time it focuses attention on specific issues. For example, in ranking solutions on whether they will have an impact, it focus discussion on that one aspect - IMPACT.

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Too often discussions get caught up in the downstream implications - e.g. it is a good idea, but can we afford it? and so the situation gets confused. Under this technique that is a completely separate discussion.

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The outcome is that we end up with powerful ranking of solutions - the no brainers that are easy to do and have a high impact, and the solutions that have a high impact but need further thought and refinement to make tem easy to do.