One of the most valuable tools I use on a day-to-day basis is the mock-up. Before I know the answer or even the problem structure I like to mock-up how the solution will be presented to the team at the end. You don’t have to populate any of the details yet, but a framework gives you the opportunity to think through the order of the work you are going to do.
If I’m not able to mock-up the solution on a whiteboard in 2 hours I start over. If I’m not able to figure out how what kind of solution the client/customer/end user wants in 2 hours how can I ever expect to start working toward that solution?
The 2 hour rule has been honed over the past few years because it’s short enough that you can test it throughout the day to ensure you really do have it right. But it’s also long enough to give yourself time to really think through the framework over a few drafts.
This process does NOT give you the final solution or even the final way the solution will be presented. What it does do is give you a point on the horizon to work towards. Too often we just jump in with both feet and hope we are going in the right direction before we get too far. But the problem with that is that we are just randomly working in a direction without any consideration.
How often do you think random works in the work world?