Be careful about “solutioning” too quickly

Be careful about "solutioning" too quickly

One of the great things about software developers is that they tend to be "solutions-oriented." By that, I mean that if you give them a particular data management challenge, they want to figure out some way the software can address that challenge. This is a good thing!

But too often, we jump to solving a problem ("solutioning") before we really understand the scope and breadth of the problem itself. An example:

One challenge a client has is address changes made by members via the member portal. When these address changes are made, sometimes they can affect which chapter the member belongs to. And so the client wants a solution that allows for the staff to check address changes before they are "posted" to the member's account. An interim step to allow for quality control.

On the surface, this seems like a challenge worth addressing, and anything that could automate the process would certainly be helpful. Upon further digging, though, we discovered that, for most of the year, there are only about 10-12 of these changes per month. So rather than trying to build something to automatically deal with this, the correct approach is to check these manually as address changes are made. No automation required.

My recommendations before solutioning an issue:

  1. Understand the depth of the problem. How often does "this thing" happen? How many transactions occur in a given time period?
  2. Understand the breadth of the problem. For example, what's the financial or reputational impact if we don't automate this? If it's done manually and takes a little more time than automation would, who will notice, and is that a big problem, or a little problem?
  3. What if we did nothing at all? Or put another way, do we really need to do what we think we need to do? If we did nothing, would anyone notice?

Solving problems is great. But sometimes the solution is more than the problem demands. Be careful about falling into the trap of "solutioning" without understanding the breadth and depth of the problem.

Wes's Wednesday Wisdom Archives

More on Meetings

June 30, 2021

More on Meetings I’ve written before about the importance of making sure your meetings are …

More on Meetings Read More »

Action produces momentum

June 23, 2021

Action produces momentum Another great quote from James Clear: “Motivation often comes after starting, not …

Action produces momentum Read More »

My #1 Best Practice…

June 16, 2021

My #1 Best Practice… A client recently asked me: “If you had to pick a single …

My #1 Best Practice… Read More »

Encourage engagement with prizes!

June 9, 2021

Encourage engagement with prizes! One of the biggest challenges any organization faces when implementing a new …

Encourage engagement with prizes! Read More »


June 2, 2021

Inertia One definition of inertia is “to remain unchanged.” My sense is that many association processes, projects, or …

Inertia Read More »

When’s the “least bad” time?

May 26, 2021

When’s the “least bad” time? When working with clients on a new project, especially a …

When’s the “least bad” time? Read More »

A poor launch can set the stage for YEARS

May 19, 2021

A poor launch can set the stage for YEARS It is not uncommon for me …

A poor launch can set the stage for YEARS Read More »

Have the courage of your convictions

May 12, 2021

Have the courage of your convictions Having the courage of your convictions means you’re willing …

Have the courage of your convictions Read More »

Even your online directory is out of date!

May 5, 2021

Even your online directory is out of date! Back in the day of printed directories, …

Even your online directory is out of date! Read More »

Start small

April 28, 2021

Start small When I work with my clients on projects that involve measuring member engagement, …

Start small Read More »

Scroll to Top