Friday Five: Issue Tree Solutions

Hello again,

Thank you for completing the Friday Five challenge. It helps us enormously to track how your group is progressing. Here are your solutions and some sample issue tree patterns to prompt your thinking further.

What are the tree organising frames to use when sorting the ideas within your issue tree?
Structure, time and degree is the correct answer. Any set of ideas that you have should be able to be sorted using one of these three frames, and in fact applying the frame will help you ensure your tree passes the MECE / NONG test. You may remember that MECE means that the ideas are mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive. Or, in short words: there are no overlaps and no gaps between the ideas within your tree.

When do you use an issue tree rather than a storyline?
All of the above is true. You need to use issue trees to help you organise your work to ensure you have enough data and have completed enough analysis. You most particularly need to use an issue tree to plan a complex task. Having said that, they are very useful for thinking through simple tasks as well. In sum, they just force you to think

What is wrong with this problem statement?

What is wrong with this problem statement?

Context: Our young managers have strong theoretical understanding but little practical experience.
Trigger: We want to change that.
Question (=problem statement): What is the best way to boost our young managers?

Again, the answer is “all of the above”. The link between the problem statement and the trigger is weak, the context and trigger could lead to many other questions, not just the one provided and the problem statement is too vague. It is by no means SMART (specific, measurable, realistic and timebound).

We don't have any videos for you this time, but thought you might find these issue tree patterns useful. Download this packĀ  (2015 February Issue Trees handout) to get a copy of the patterns below as well as some other pointers regarding issue trees.


Davina and Gerard

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