Moving new ideas into action
The principle is the same in that you’re going to build a project out of elements. However, here I want to focus on issues.
Recording business issues
You’ve been recording observations of problems using Evernote as a business memory. For each issue, you determine a possible cause and potential resolution. However, you cannot always execute that solution straight away. You may lack time, need specific resources or just because it’s more efficient to group issues together. Look for similar problems or issues that have the same solution.
Make sure that you’re recording issues faithfully, so you capture the real observation and identifying potential solutions. This enables you to link them together and then create that bottom-up project.
Bottom-up analysis is where you have many problems and bring them together, to create a project to solve several issues.
You might know instinctively or intuitively that there are some issues out there could be solved together in one project.
We leave things aside until we can resolve them as a group in project mode.
Top-down analysis is where you have one good idea, but it’s quite a big idea perhaps a strategic issue, a long-term thing or just a big thing you might not be able to achieve in one step but more than one. There may be different components and subcomponents.
You want to break the big idea or concept into parts and you want to give some thought to what those parts would look like by functional analysis.
Perhaps you want to implement is a process, a new service.
How do I get to that point?
One example is from software which is composed of modules formed of lines of code. We know that you can’t just implement a piece of software in one go, you have to write the code and design the modules.
Another example is a cake made of different components: flour, eggs and chocolate. We know that we’ve got to mix those things in a specific order. You can’t mix the eggs with the flour until you’ve broken them.
We know that the flour is milled from wheat which we grow from seeds. Eggs come from chickens fed on corn. Chocolate comes from cocoa which we import from South America.
These are components and subcomponents in a hierarchical relationship. There is a direct relationship between cakes, flower and eggs and an indirect link between cake, wheat and cocoa, so the connections are hierarchical. And there is an order, a sequence in which we can solve issues.
So, there is this idea of breaking things down systematically, hierarchically, one level to the next.
In the bottom-up analysis, we have a bunch of issues that could group into a sensible project. A top-down analysis breaks an idea down into components to implement in parts.
This top-down and bottom-up analysis may be used as part of the management process.