This website covers topics on knowledge management, personal effectiveness, theory of constraints, amongst other topics. Opinions expressed here are strictly those of the owner, Jack Vinson, and those of the commenters.

Defining the problem

Problem solving fortune cookieThe recent David Allen newsletter has an essay on Time Management Is Not the Issue. I've read and listen to him talk on this topic a number of times, but what he says this time strikes a deeper chord for some reason.

Most everyone these days admits they could use better "time management." But the reason it has not really been addressed to any universal satisfaction is because time management isn't about managing time. If it was, just buying and using a calendar (and a good watch) would handle it.

The savvy among you will usually acknowledge that it's really self management—what we do with ourselves during the time we have.

The issue I'm interested in has to do with how we define the problem. In this case, the problem isn't time management or information overload - it is self management. But in other cases, you might be dealing with other questions / problems. Cash flow problem? Is that not enough income, or too much spending? Frequent inventory stock-outs on one product and constantly too much on hand with another? Is this a problem of forecasting or a poor incoming supply chain or something else? Are you angry at your spouse? Is it their fault, or is it your reaction today?

There are many other directions to go with this. I like getting under the skin of a question to see what is happening and try to discover deeper understanding of what is going on. It's always interesting to realize that the first blush "solution" to problems is often a treatment of the symptoms, rather than a solution that will remove the symptoms altogether.

Please be careful how you define the problem ... and the resulting solution.

[Photo: "Problem solving fortune cookie" by Tomasz Stasiuk]

What does it mean to manage knowledge

Dr. Eliyahu M. Goldratt 1947 - 2011