Summary. How to Accomplish the “Mission: Impossible”
Now, we could summarize the main ideas of suggested approach. Its purpose is to enable experts to find the implementable efficient way to accomplish the Mission that seemed “impossible” previously, while expending the minimal cognitive efforts.
“Mission: Impossible” is a Situation that comprises both human Activity aimed at accomplishment of Mission and seemingly insurmountable obstruction to this Activity. In the other words, “Mission: Impossible” situation includes two main Components: Mission and Contradiction. Also, this situation includes the network-like Links between these Components.
Accomplishing the Mission is “the must,” although the experts cannot find any adequate way to do that. Mission that should be accomplished could be described as “achievement of Goal that complies with Requirements.” In the analytical Model of “Mission: Impossible” situation, we usually consider two Requirements linked to the Contradiction. Other Requirements that are not affected by Contradiction aren’t included in the Model.
Contradiction that renders accomplishment of Mission impossible and thus should be resolved could be described as follows: “Circumstance Beyond Control hinders Activity used to achieve the Goal. Corrective Action corrects this hindrance, but in its turn is hindered by Obstacle.”
There are several Links connecting the Contradiction with Mission:
Intent links Activity with Achievement of Goal:
First hindrance links Circumstance Beyond Control with Requirement-1:
First compliance links Activity with Requirement-1:
Correction links Corrective Action with hindered Requirement-1:
Second compliance links Corrective Action with Requirement-2:
Second hindrance links Obstacle with Requirement-2:
This structure of Model is typical for “Mission: Impossible” situations:
Fig. 21. Model of “Mission: Impossible” situation
This Model represents situation as a set of Events organized by Links.
For needs of accomplishing the “Mission: Impossible,” we consider cause-and-effect Links “accomplishes” (enforces, corrects) and “hinders.” In order to accomplish the Mission, one should modify Events and Links. The purpose of analytical work with “Mission: Impossible” situation is to reveal the relevant Components and Links that form its unique story.
Modifying the Links usually takes less effort than modifying the Events. Events constitute the domains of expertise; Links constitute the seams between domains. Domains are controlled by experts; seams are “no-man’s land.” Within a seam, domain-consignor delivers its results to domain-consignee; the domain-consignee communicates its requirements to domain-consignor. Requirements should reflect real needs of domain-consignee and match capabilities of domain-consignor. Deliverables should meet requirements and satisfy the real needs of domain-consignee.
The goal of resolving the Contradiction is to find implementable way to accomplish the Mission.
There are two ways to resolve the Contradiction: use apparent decisions (white arrows marked with letters A, B and C) and consider the unobvious opportunities (yellow arrows marked with Roman numbers from I to IV).
Fig. 22. Ways to Resolve the Contradiction and accomplish the “Mission: Impossible.”
Apparent decisions are as follows:
A. Continue doing the Intent despite of Circumstance
B. Stop doing the Intend due to Circumstance
C. Perform the Corrective Action in order to correct influence of Circumstance
Each apparent decision has its own window of opportunity. If at least one window of opportunity is still open, experts are lucky: they still could use appropriate apparent decision. Usually, it comes out that all three windows of opportunity are already closed. This fact makes accomplishment of Mission “impossible.”
Experts usually do not consider the unobvious opportunities. Their expertise does not provide these hints. Unobvious opportunities are as follows:
I. Comply with Requirement-2 despite of Obstacle
II. Find an alternative Corrective Action
III. Comply with Requirement-1 despite of Circumstance
IV. Find an alternative Intent
In order to take an unobvious opportunity, one should break the appropriate Link. For this purpose, Link could be described as a story consisting chain of Events. Then, this Link could be broken by avoiding some Events in this chain (for opportunities I and III) or by finding the alternative way to perform some Events in this chain (for opportunities II and IV).
We recommend to run this process in form of facilitation. Facilitation is the way of enabling experts to find and implement efficient solution to accomplish the Mission that previously seemed “impossible.” Facilitator who uses the suggested approach runs the process that consumes minimal cognitive effort of experts, while guarantees the needed result.
Facilitation is a way to divide the intellectual labor efficiently: experts use their knowledge and expertise, while facilitator analyzes their information, directs the process and provides experts with appropriate questions to answer. Facilitator also motivates experts to strictly adhere to the recommended process, thus enabling them to achieve unique results.
Facilitation goes step-by-step. The facilitated process comprises nine steps:
Interview: documenting the story of “Mission: Impossible” and defining the criteria the solution should comply with
Analysis: developing the Model
Model verification: revealing if Model is reasonable, checking the windows of opportunity for apparent decisions and choosing the unobvious opportunities to pursue
Opportunity expansion: documenting the story of Link
Opportunity analysis: transforming the story of Link into the chain of Events and formulating the appropriate questions to these Events
Answers: collecting the answers to questions aimed at breaking the Link
Solutions development: combining the answers into the solutions
Solutions evaluation: ranking the solutions by each criterion defined previously and selecting the solution for implementation
Plan of implementation: defining the steps of implementation, responsible people and timing.
In this facilitated process, facilitator runs the analytical work, formulates the questions, and drives the step-by-step process; experts deliver the information in form of stories, answer the questions, combine answers into solutions, rank them and select the solution for implementation, and plans implementation of this solution.