2022.05.18 LUVINA'S MIND

Middle management - Challenge Management

In the previous article “Team operation by Goal – Challenge – Action”, we mentioned about 3 key techniques for project operation including Meeting technique, Challenge management technique, Action management technique.

In this article, we will take a closer look into the challenge management technique.

The positive meaning of challenge

  • Challenges are things that have to be solved to achieve a certain purpose. It’s different from problem, which refers to the trouble, damage that has occurred.
  • Examples of challenges: 
    • (1) Develop new methods in order to speed up
    • (2) Apply psychological care method to increase work motivation for members
  • Solving these challenges will increase the value provided to the customer (1) or improve the situation of the team or project (2)
  • Usually, challenges are not easy to see like problem but we have to actively search for and identify in order to solve.

The content of Challenge management report

No

Category

Title

Content

Date

Status

Priority level

Result/Conclusion

How to classify

Notyet

Doing

Done

Sorting out the “fake” challenges

  • After a while, challenge management file will be filled up with challenges because more than half of which are “fake” challenges.
  • “Fake” challenges share the same characteristic, such as: confusing description, difficult to turn into action and forever-lasting
  • The existence of these “fake” challenges will distract us then make us abandon the real challenges.

Check point to find a “fake” 

Check point

Example

Confusion between problem and challenge

Poor performance, up-to-30s response time

Solving that challenge is dependent on others.

Specification for login feature has not been decided yet. Need to ask the customer to decide

Unclear classification

Improve quality

Unclear purpose

Rework transmission module

Unclear priority

Too many challenges marked as “Important”

Unclear classification

Use many classifications that do not yet exist.

When you see the above signs, you must take the following four actions:

1. Turn problem into challenge.

2. Rewrite the problem to the point where you can see what the next action is.

3. Prioritize the challenge which connects directly to the purpose/goal of the project

4. Simplify classification

Turn problem into challenge

  • Problem is an obstacle, for example: “Poor performance, up-to-30s response time” or “a member that is constantly late for work”. When there is a problem, something must be done to solve it. That “something” is a challenge.
  • For example: “Specification for login feature has not been decided yet. Need to ask the customer to decide”: The team needs to do or propose something and make the customer decide. It means that you, not the others, have to participate and play a deciding role.

Rewrite the problem to the point where you can see what the next action is

  • Challenges needs to be separated smally enough to see what the next action should be.
  • For example: the “Improve quality” challenge need to be devided into, for example, “Improve on response time” if the performance is poor, or “retest” if there are a lot of bugs.

Prioritize the challenge which connects directly to the purpose of the project

  • When detecting challenges, it would be a waste not to note down but too many challenges would make solving all of them difficult.

Challenge-Management-Techniques

Simplify classification

  • Most people usually rush into doing a detailed classification but do nothing afterward.
  • Why do we have to classify?
  • Writer’s point of view: Classification is to identify who to work with on the mentioned challenges.
Discussion Request

Internal processing

It is a challenge that must be consulted by outside expert or customers

It is a challenge requesting someone or customer to provide an all-in-one solution

It is a challenge that team can solve if they think carefully

Conclusion

  • Challenge is different from problem, it brings positive meaning to the completion of one project.
  • The difficulty in challenge management is: What to write in it
  • “Fake” challenges can easily be confused with the real one so you need to identify the “fake” one from the real by looking at the title, priority level, classification.
  • Sorting out “fake” challenges by:
    • Turn problem into challenge
    • Separate into small challenge so that you can see what the next action should be
    • Prioritize challenges that connects directly to the purpose of the project
    • Simplify classification.

Practice

1. Do your team members confuse between problems and challenges?

2. Review your team’s challenge management file to check if there are any confusions.

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