MECE means mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive. Thinking in a MECE way helps cleaning your problem-solving process by ensuring that you consider all possible answers exactly once.

Don’t overdo that MECE thing – independent and collectively exhaustive

For those of us discovering the MECE concept (mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive), it can be oh-so-attractive: finally, a way to organize my thoughts! It’s simple and elegant. The acronym is even catchy. Why didn’t I hear of this before? This is it! Douglas Adams was wrong: 42 isn’t the answer, […]

Read More

Be more MECE (mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive)

We’ve talked about how thinking in a mutually exclusive and collective exhaustive way is central to effective problem solving. But this is such an important concept that we should talk about it more. First, be CEME, not MECE To solve a problem in a MECE way you need to consider […]

Read More

Learn to build issue trees by watching

Matthew Juniper, at Cambridge, demonstrates how to build issue trees. His approach is very similar to ours and he has an excellent video to describe it so you might want to watch it; here are the highlights I like best. Work on one specific question. Matthew starts his issue tree […]

Read More

Case study: cables negotiation — part 5/8 — Generate solutions

This entry is part of a multi-post case study. You’ve identified your problem. You’ve uncovered its root causes by building a why tree and by testing hypotheses. So you’ve covered the first two steps of the problem-solving process. Next, you need to identify solutions. This requires you to reformulate your […]

Read More

Case study: cables negotiation — part 3/8 — Build a why issue tree (2/2)

This entry is part of a multi-post case study. So, we’re back to our cables negotiation. We’ve defined the problem and identified the basic framework for breaking down the key question. Next we need to build our diagnostic tree, why issue tree. Building the why issue tree / issue map essentially […]

Read More