Bulletproof Problem Solving

The One Skill That Changes Everything

Charles Conn, Robert McLean

Publisher: Wiley, 2018, 289 pages

ISBN: 978-1-119-55302-1

Keywords: Management

Last modified: Feb. 16, 2020, 10:16 p.m.

7 straightforward steps to solving any problem with creativity and rigor

Complex problem solving is the core skill for twenty-first century teams. It's the only way to keep up with rapid change. Winning organizations now rely on nimble, iterative problem solving, rather than traditional planning processes. In this book you'll learn the seven-step systematic approach to creative problem solving that will work in any field or industry. It employs a highly visual, logic-tree method that can be applied to any problem, from strategic business decisions to global social challenges. Charles and Rob, with decades of experience at McKinsey & Company and other institutions, provide a toolkit with 30 detailed real-world examples, so you can see exactly how the technique works in action.

  • Introduction: Problem Solving for the Challenges of the Twenty-First Century
  1. Learn the Bulletproof Problem Solving Approach
    A straightforward seven-step process is the key to bulletproof problem solving.
  2. Define the Problem
    Take time upfront to fully understand the problem and its context.
  3. Problem Disaggregation and Prioritization
    Cleave the problem into manageable parts.
  4. Build a Great Workplan and Team Processes
    Drive your workplans from hypotheses to action for efficient problem solving.
  5. Conduct Analyses
    Start with summary statistics and heuristics to find simple answers to complex problems.
  6. Big Guns of Analysis
    Employ sophisticated tools of analysis with confidence when they are needed.
  7. Synthesize Results and Tell a Great Story
    Synthesize your analysis and turn it into a compelling narrative.
  8. Problem Solving with Long Time Frames and High Uncertainty
    Add tools to address issues of long time frames and uncertainty.
  9. Wicked Problems
    Unpick wicked problems to yield surprising insights.
  10. Becoming a Great Problem Solver
    The magic of the bulletproof process is now yours.
  • Appendix: Blank Worksheets for You to Try


Bulletproof Problem Solving

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Mediocre **** (4 out of 10)

Last modified: March 9, 2021, 10:37 a.m.

For a starter, this is not a book about problem-solving, it is about decision-making, or rather the material you may need to have before taking a decision.

If you try to solve a real problem (especially wicked ones) and utilize these techniques, you'll be none the wiser. If don't know if this is really "the" McKinsey method (could be, as they seldom try to solve problems) or a unique Australian approach to Management (I have recently read a number of books from Australia that has got me questioning the management culture down under, but I may have been unlucky…)

Nothing new under the sun in this book, and they even fail their own first point in their examples (define the problem).

Not recommended reading.


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